Sunday, 31 August 2014

Airline Food

There are at least fifteen things that routinely bother me about travel via airlines.

Just getting through the TSA security mess....usually gets me peppy and negative.  The idiot questions asked by the scanning my passport usually bother me.  The pricing of any food or drink at the airport bother me.  The uncomfortable seating arrangements and knee room bother me.  The delays which occur in good weather or bad weather.  I even get negative about the walking distance between leaving plane A at gate 6 in terminal one.....and trying to cross over to gate 12 in terminal two....in twenty-two minutes and just barely making it before they close the door (an often-repeating Atlanta and Philly issue).

Then I come to the food onboard planes today.  Since August of 1977 (when the Air Force sent me on my first trip to basic training) to today....I can truthfully say that I've only had two decent meals or dinners in that entire time frame.  The other two-hundred dinners were all crap.

The Air Force put me on a cargo plane one day, and rather than the traditional cheap meats or ham sandwich box.....they put in four big pieces of deep-fried chicken, from the local chow-hall operation.  It was some of the best chicken I've had in my life, and sipping a Coke as refreshment.....I still regard that dinner as one of the better ones.

The other one was a two-hour flight from Luxembourg City to Paris.....where Lux Air pulled out a box with five-star deli sandwich, a couple of great cookies, and some fantastic pudding.  An extra fatty situation?  Oh yeah.  But it was actually worth eating.

The problem with the whole airline food situation is that it has to be done for roughly $3, fit onto a tray, be heatable, and meet some basic nutritional guidelines.  Once you add all of these up.....it's impossible to come to a decent conclusion.

I get around this problem today....mostly by eating a dinner or lunch prior to getting onboard.  I've given up.  Yeah, I admit it......you can't get on the plane and have any expectations of a decent plate of airline food.  I've even gotten to bringing my own cookies with me.

Would it make any difference if suddenly some airline offered a mini Pizza Hut pizza with their travel deal?  I'm not sure.  Would it drive me to fly a certain airline, if I knew they all offered Domino's pizza slices?  Maybe.  I'd probably sit there and debate the cost of the ticket, and just how much it'd mean in value.

Are we improving any with these airline dinners?  No.  I can truthfully say after thirty-odd years of travel.....there's absolutely zero improvement.  That's the strange thing.  We have perhaps....peaked, and cannot get any better.  That....in some ways....ought to worry you.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Fingerprinting?

I follow the business news a good bit, and there's this odd story that appeared there....which won't really be displayed on CNN, ABC or even Fox News.  It's about this screwed up business regulation in Venezuela....which will come into play shortly....requiring you as a consumer to display your fingerprint....to buy groceries and consumables.

Odd?

Well....here's the basic story.

Venezuela has been going down the tubes economically for two decades.  An irrational government....always on the push for wealth distribution....has gotten to the bottom of the barrel.  So if you were a storefront in any significant urban area of Venezuela....you've had government dimwits arrive and tell you what you can sell items for....unrelated to what you paid for the items to start with.

Naturally, you'd ask stupid questions about their knowledge over profits and operating costs.  They respond that they know better and suggest that they might be able to shut you down.

After a while....instead of offering five different toilet paper options in the store....you start to offer only one option.... some rough cheap paper.  Folks start to negotiate....buying stuff on the black market....creating a hidden market where taxation isn't working and common essentials aren't being sold.

To battle this....Venezuela is going to start a new trend....finger-printing at all grocery and store-fronts.  You buy six jugs of milk....swipe your fingerprints as you buy them.....the government guy notes your purchase and knows your consumption level.  You go and buy forty jugs of milk....swipe your fingerprints.....a government guy comes by the house and asks how you are consuming this (you try to avoid talking about re-selling it at a higher cost and profiting off the dealing).  All of this....leading to fines or jail?

Upsetting?  Yeah, a number of Venezuela folks are asking stupid questions and wondering what company is involved....how they profited off this deal....how much the technology will cost at their local Piggly Wiggly....and where this will lead onto.

A silly use of technology?  You'd have to attach audit experts onto the mess.....consider judges and fines.....and have some expected outcome.  It's silly....but we've developed as a society where it's actually acceptable.

Splish-Splash

Near to where I grew up in Bama....is this town with an expanding population base.  Yeah, I know....it's kinda shocking that some towns in Bama are growing in these stagnant times.

This week, the town council kinda admitted that they are seeking a state grant...meaning tax revenue money and funding dumped into some pot and cities across Bama can request the money for various projects.

So, this town has submitted the paperwork, and awaiting approval for funding to build......a splash park.

Naturally, I've been out of America for a while and I'm not really familiar with the concept of splash parks.

You basically take some two acres of land (or smaller) and run up piping and some outlets....with a latex covered concrete area and drainage capability.  Then you toss in a fairly good pump and a bunch of water outlets....really fountains....and just spray water on folks.

Kids....mostly from sixteen down....get all excited....wet....and happy in such an environment.  No life-guard.  No fancy dressing rooms.  Perhaps a beverage shop and burger joint, and maybe a covered picnic area.

The town's mayor admits it'll be planned around 1,400 square feet....figure a half-acre lot.  Course, he's admitting everyone is excited about this (I kinda wonder why)......and there's a feeling that it'll all be concluded by spring of 2015.....IF they get the funding.

Being a Bama tax payer now....I kinda feel negative about money being tossed into a project like this, but if they didn't go after it for this stupid splash park......some other idiot would go after it to build a a covered picnic structure in a rattlesnake-infested creek area, or someone would put up a basketball court in a drug-infested crack neighborhood of Birmingham.

The curious thing about this whole deal?  They've only crossed the alcohol sales point in the past year (finally getting it passed in 2012).....which means the town now has regular taxation income off the booze sales.  In some ways....I think the city council is fairly surprised at how much rolls in each month off beer and booze (more so than the traffic ticket scheme of the past twenty years).  With various state and federal grants, and ample matching funds coming into play from the local taxation bucket.....they could start planning yearly splish-splash projects, attracting a whole new breed of local moving into the local area and pumping up property values.

As for standing out in the middle of some splash-park on a ninety-five degree day in Bama?  Man, I can't imagine standing there, with that much humidity and that much heat bearing down on you.  And at best.....you can only operate such a park from early May to late September.  But this is Bama, and you tend to appreciate just about everything of entertainment value.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Simply Observations

This morning's news indicates another recline-chair episode that occurred on some plane.  The stewardess got involved, and then got "touched" by some male passenger, which generally means she'll call an emergency.  Sky-marshall guys got involved and held the guy until they landed.  All related to another argument over someone trying to recline the seat beyond acceptance of the next row's passenger.  For two decades....I've been hyper about the seat business when flying.  American Airlines is one of the worst when it comes to depth of seats and knee allowance.  Iceland Air is one of the better airlines for "space".  "Seat-rage"?  Well....it's the best description of the mess.  It's bad enough now that they won't allow you to stand for an hour or two of the flight (as in the old days)....to give you some knee-relief.

I noticed in Billboard news that the record industry is admitting crossing another bad border.  For the weekly total....they went below four million....which is a pretty difficult point for the music industry to admit.  What's happening?  I think most folks woke up in the 1990s and realized that albums are sold with usually one decent song, two marginally good songs.....and the rest are garbage.  I reached a point in the 1990 timeframe where I just almost stopped buying albums because of the quality issue.  1979 was the last year where seven albums were released which had almost all four-star songs (The Wall, Highway to Hell by AC/DC, Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young, Breakfast in America by SuperTramp, Rumors by Fleetwood Mac, London Calling by the Clash, Regatta de Blanc by the Police).  It makes more sense today to just isolate the one single good tune....pay 99-cents for it, and skip the rest of the album.

I kinda noticed that some Utah judge did a unhooking of the polygamy law....suggesting that not only were gays getting denied opportunities to marry....but real Mormon-enthusiasts....who want two or more wives.  Course, it'll go to the Utah state Supreme Court, and likely onto the US Supreme Court.  But I'm guessing within three years that you as a guy....just might be able to marry two women....or two other guys, if you desired that situation.  Yep, opening vast doors....that no one considered a decade ago.

Finally, Census numbers show around thirty-three percent of America is on some type of welfare or social program.  Yeah.....all-time record.  Who is paying and how long can we sustain this type of deal?  It might be interesting to ask the President or his administrative players what the magic numbers are, and if the nation could sustain forty-percent of folks on welfare or a social program.  The answer might shock folks.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Modern-Day Pandoras Box

Yesterday, there was an odd announcement by the Department of Transportation.....suggesting potential regulations coming up shortly, and forcing cars manufactured in the US....to have a broadcast capability.

Yeah....this means your car would broadcast out your speed, direction, and location.  Acting with a GPS satellite.....it'd tell a network where you were....ID your car by some method (maybe the tag number or the serial number of the car).....and note your progress.

Speeding?  Well....it wouldn't take an idiot to filter out the location and figure that you were in a 45-mph zone and doing 51-mph.  Ticket from a network viewer?  Very likely.

Why they need to move in this direction?  They weren't exactly talking about in the announcement.  I suspect they have the capability and simply believe it's the best direction in the future to go.  Kinda like me knowing what's best for my neighbors, my peers, and my buddies.

What the article didn't really discuss.....was how the government would receive the data....from across 3.79 million square miles.

First, you'd have to consider the transmission capability onboard a car.  Unless you were sending signals back to a satellite....it'd be practically impossible to cover more than fifty-percent of the US.  Vast areas of Alaska, Montana, California and Idaho simply wouldn't be covered.  Maybe ninety-five percent of Maryland and Delaware might be possible.  Maybe sixty-percent of Alabama might be put under some collection device.

Second....all of this would have to go into some giant data collection system.  Just getting a contract generated to cover this requirement.....you can figure a twenty-billion-dollar contract to set up the initial stage, with receivers on all interstates and US highways.  State highways and county roads?  Maybe down the road with stage two.

Third...how would they control the privacy of the data?  All it'd take is one idiot kid from Wales breaking into their database, and suddenly a hundred-thousand cars could disappear from the display in a matter of seconds.

A Pandoras Box?  Yeah.  Happening shortly?  I can see this delayed for a year or two, but by 2020....it's likely going to be implemented.....with thousands of Americans figuring ways to disable their car's beacon, and facing some kind of fine by the state cops for violating federal law.  Pretty sad way of society evolving.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How White Flight Occurs

The news media throws around various terms and just figures that most folks understand what they mean.  When they do give a basic definition....it's so marginal in terms of description, that I think most folks are still puzzled.  So I'll throw up the term....."white flight".

These are the basic steps that create white flight.

You start with one key event.  It might be a murder....an assault....or some vicious robbery gone-wrong....that triggers a town of twenty-thousand people to start to evaluate their safety.  It might have nothing to do with blacks, whites, Latinos, or any minority. It might involve the big-name school principal firing a favored teacher or football coach.  It might involve a massive change in the city council where you find that your council member openly stole thousands each year and gave contracts to his brother-in-law.

So instead of a ratio of five-people-moving-out and six-people-moving-in as the standard for your town....you quietly find over a two or four year period that it's now ten-people-moving-out and seven-people-moving-in.  Some houses are now sold at a discount price....say $15k less than the average, just for the owners to vacate and leave.

Then you start to notice at Sunday School.....as your peers discuss they are looking at properties in a development sixteen miles away and might be leaving this church.  You ask for reasons and you end up wasting an entire hour listening to one guy dump on the local politics, the local cops, the local crime, and the local economy.  He might have excessive reasons, and acting on impulse, but his facts are what is reported in the local paper.

You start to notice that your local grocery has a few new people on the staff....because the old crew have moved onto a new operation just outside of town, near the new development.

The school has some troubles with discipline.....fights and drugs start to get mentioned more often now.

So ten years into this episode....the town is now assessed at 18,500....having lost 1,500 residents over a decade.  The mayor wants infrastructure programs....which means more taxes and more fine generation (by your friendly cops).  The mayor thinks if they can just fix up this park....widen this road....or renew this part of town.....things will change.

The increased taxation simply irks the remaining residents of town.  A new police chief arrives because the old guy wasn't given a pay-raise like he expected and he found a better job elsewhere.  The fire chief does the same deal.

Robbery occurs more often and neighborhood watch groups are now becoming the norm.

The city council flips over one year with almost all new players....talking of "change".  They can't define the change but they will bring it to the city.  Naturally, this all revolves around more taxes, more expenditures, and more programs funded by the city, the county, the state, or the federal government.

A decade later, the city is now 14,500....having lost 5,500 over a twenty-year period.  Several neighborhoods are now crime-infested and heavily connected to drugs.  The cops come out to the school once a month to arrest one or two students for selling weed.

By this point, you kinda add up the statistical average for whites and "others".....finding that sixty-percent of the white population from twenty years ago have left.  Your Latino population has now taken over eight-percent of the city population and figures heavily into any city election.  Minority political figures into every election now.

Big-name business operations that used to bring in substantial city tax revenue?  Gone.  You depend on gas stations, drug stores, and your local Wal-Mart.

The development urban area that attracted a number of the white population over the past two decades?  It's got it's own Wal-Mart, and it's own gas stations.  The new urban development now has people with decent jobs....who buy items involving taxation, and generate funding for the new urban area to grow and put in new parks and infrastructure.  They hire better qualified cops and routinely prosecute anyone of a serious violation.  They keep their new urban area under constant review....making the folks who moved there happier than the folks who remained in the old town.

Stagnation settles into the old town.  They can't attract better business operations or better pay.  At this point, white flight has reached an epic proportion.  You can't reverse this trend.  You can't solve this trend.  Staying in the white flight town?  That ought to be your least of choices.  You ought to actually think of packing up and moving your family away....maybe to a whole new state....and just start fresh.  But you won't do that....because you are anchored to a dream of living in the place where you grew up.  Those who move on....survive.  Those who stay....accept stagnation as the norm.

That's white flight, and it's going on daily in America.  

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Burger King Story

When I joined the Air Force in August of 1977....the finance guys asked me what I wanted for a state of residence.....which translated over into state taxes.  I didn't really grasp the question, but just naturally answered Alabama.  So for the next three years, I paid Alabama state taxes.  I doubt if I ever paid more than $300 a year....because a young airman just doesn't make that much anyway.

When I got to Tacoma, Washington in 1980, they let me know right away that Washington was one of those states without a state income tax, and it'd be smart to change your status.  I didn't really think much about it......but around a year later as I was getting ready to leave the region, I changed my status to a Washington resident.  For the remainder of my career, I was a Washington resident and paid no state taxes.

Around 1989, I came to arrive in Arizona, and this topic came up in a finance briefing.  They tossed up a slide of what a E6 and a O3 would pay per year for various states.  For Bama, I would have paid around $950.  For Kentucky, it was closer to $1300.  They were encouraging folks to figure some method of getting Texas residency (that was popular then) and pay no states taxes.  It simply made sense.

While at the Pentagon in 2010 to 2013.....I came to work around a number of Army personnel, who mostly all claimed Texas as their state of residence.  So they paid no state income tax.

I bring this up....because today.....Burger King announced that it was buying Hortons of Canada....a Bar-B-Q chain....and moving their headquarters to Canada.  The US corporate rate of taxation is around 38-percent, while Canada is around 15-percent.  Various news idiots are giving two or three different rates for each, which makes it awful confusing.  The bottom line is that BK will save millions by shifting the headquarters there.

Naturally, on the Business Channel....a couple of congressmen and senators are all upset and talking about business operations not being patriotic and paying their fair share of taxes.  I kinda sat there and wondered who blessed them to come up with a "fair-share" number and say that's ok and fair.

I don't have much of a problem with this corporate mentality.  It's their right.  If you want to make it a legal mess....just tell them they can't move anywhere, period.  While you do that.....also make up a rule that congressmen and senators need to keep their residence back in their home state and actually just maintain a hotel room while living in DC.

If you look around....there's around five or six states which are deemed as harsh places for any company to set up a headquarters.  There's around a dozen states (like Texas and Alabama for example)....where the state goes way out of its way to talk folks into moving their business operation into their states....mostly by lowering all corporate taxation at the state level.  I don't see congress or the senate jumping into this business or trying to put a fist down on Texas being openly friendly to attracting new companies.

Where does all this lead onto?  I sat there one day and figured that over a twenty-two year career.....I probably saved around $20,000 that went into my pocket.....rather than the state tax revenue bucket of Alabama. Basically a new pickup.  For a company like Burger King, what they'd save over twenty years....probably would amount to way over a billion dollars.  It means a good bit if you think about it.


The Fort Lee Story

An episode occurred yesterday (Monday) at Fort Lee Army Post.  Basically, a Sgt First Class (roughly fourteen years of service reported via one media site)....got into a tirade at the organizational headquarters.

No one says much over what triggered the fit of hostility, nor will they say if she was under treatment for anything, or any anti-depression pills.

Cops were called because of the outrage being shown.  They arrived to find this gal locked in the office area, with her own handgun (not an Army issue weapon as you might suspect).

After a few minutes of talk.....she killed herself.

The Army is investigating the episode.

What some have said is that she only deployed to Iraq once over the past decade....back in 2007....for roughly a year.  Beyond that....no other deployments reported.

Over the past couple of years.....most of the shooting episodes around Army posts have involved men.  It's the first that I know of....involving a woman.

Around twenty years ago....I was in a unit and we had a thirty-five year-old gal who was married.  She went home early one day....finding her husband (a contractor) in the house with some other gal.  Yeah, in a compromising position.

Our associate went into some tirade and fit that went involved her kicking the husband out of the husband....then throwing all his clothing and property out of the house.  Cops came, and they simply stood there waiting for her to simmer down. Well....it took around forty-five minutes for her to reach some point of cooling off, with a massive amount of personal property of the husband destroyed.

Health-wise....the cops were a bit worried over this gal, and took her to the base clinic....where they gave her some kind of injection and knocked her out for at least twelve hours.

By the next day.....she was back up, peppy, and prepared to destroy more property of the husband.  It took a good bit of talking by the First Sgt to calm her down, and around twelve more hours on the second day before they'd release.

She ended up spending weeks under the watchful eye of a mental health expert....before reaching a point where she was finally in control of her senses.  She admitted a week later in office chatter that occurred....that she just wasn't herself and some fit of rage had taken control of her mind.

The husband?  She ended up divorcing him....as I was told later.

Maybe the Army will get to the bottom of this episode at Fort Lee, but I'm guessing it'll involve some things that they don't want to discuss in public.  So, we might never know the trigger to her fit of rage.

After thirty-odd years of hanging around military individuals and bases/posts.....I came to some point of realizing that we have a lot of pressure built up within some folks, and they simply use military discipline to contain their rage and fits.  Strong minds.....contain vast thoughts of destruction and harm....even to one's self.

It was one of the odd things that I eventually figured out about life in the military.  There's lots of positives, and this small handful of negatives.  And somehow, most of the time.....it generally works out OK.  In this case?  Well....no.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Robot Future

Here this month of August....the Pew Research Center....a respected research group....came out with a report that projects within the next decade that a lusty hot robot gal will be available for guys, for a price.

Yeah, it kinda means that a guy with ample income.....could put down the cash and buy himself a bedroom gal, strictly for physical needs, and forget the need of a regular wife/girlfriend.

It invites various discussion about where this is going.  All you need is five guys out of a hundred to go to the robot gal for all their physical needs, and mankind is in some type of trouble.  Added to this way of thinking....it also means that a guy could pick up on a robot guy if he wanted lusty male activity and avoid a relationship entirely.

It's a bold new world ahead in the next couple of decades.  The question of ethics will arise and demand some attention by the public and government authorities.  Might we go and make human to robot relationships legal?  Somewhere by 2040....I'll bet that several states have approved such marriages, and you start to notice a handful of such relationships.

Negative concepts among society over this development?  I'm betting that political figures from both parties will attach themselves to the idea and try to get folks to twist this into a political debate.

All of this will lead companies to think over models and develop models to fit the general public requirements: the Woman Woman model, the Thai model, the blonde-bombshell type, and the seven-foot tall model that waddles around with seven-inch high heels.

I can't say if this is positive or negative.  Society is on a constant change mentality.  Eventually, everything is acceptable.  And this robot thing is only a temporary moment of the changes ahead.

Curfew

The Air Force gently introduced me to the concept of curfew back in 1977.  Up until that point, I was young and naive, and the Air Force figured that establishing a curfew.....would ensure be the practical solution to ensure safety and limit property damage.  We were told to be basically back in the tech school dorm by 11PM on school nights. Generally, I'd say that the curfew accomplished little to nothing....mostly because they didn't take names or do roll-call each evening to make it effective.

After that brief period in 1977.....other than a brief period in Panama where I saw curfew done (with no positive effect), and another during a TDY period to Incirlik, Turkey (also no positive effect).....I can generally say that curfews are a wasted effort.

Watching TV over the past two weeks from Missouri and this Ferguson episode....I'd generally say that no one really pays much attention to curfew rules.  It doesn't matter if it's coming from the cops, the mayor, the city council, the governor, some military general, or from the President himself.

Years ago, I got into a discussion with someone who'd spent time in Detroit back in the early 70's when the riots occurred there.  As a kid, they tended to notice three simple facts about riots, curfews and damages.

First, timing means everything.   Folks like to riot between the late afternoon to around midnight.  No one ever riots at 6AM or 9AM in the morning.  Riots rarely ever occur in winter, but are extremely evident in summer.  In Panama, I tended to notice protests to always occur after lunch, and usually ended by 4PM in the afternoon so everyone could get on the regular routine buses, and get home before the last bus run of the day.  No one ever gets stirred up in morning hours....burning down business operations or breaking into stores to loot.

Second, somewhere in this mix of rioting....is booze or drugs.  You don't usually hang out at a riot unless you've had a beer or two, or done a hit or two on weed.

Third, whatever the original intent of the riot or protest was about......it's usually forgotten as folks progress into a riot or looting episode.  It's more about looting or getting your piece of the redistribution.....and no one remembers much of what got them upset in the first place.

Cops will tell you that in every community.....there is authority to establish a curfew.  I generally challenge that attitude or law.  A military commander does have such authority over his troops or his post.  Beyond that.....it's hard to say that curfew is legal in any state or city.  Arrested breaking curfew?  I'd challenge anyone who says you could end up with jail-time.  Basically, the cops just arrest you.....drag you to some downtown jail, and as the sun rises....release you.  There might be a later court date.....but they lack any firm law that would really work and sustain itself in a legal setting.

I kinda noticed that various news journalists were out and about, during the curfew setting.....acting as though they were exempt from such rulings or orders.  That kinda says something about how people interpret curfews.

A wasted effort?  Well....if folks were really peppy about their subject.....they riot and loot from sun-up to sun-down.  They rarely ever do that.  So, it's mostly an effort to party, drink heavily, smoke some weed, and hangout with the crowd.....oh, and loot of course.

My Ferguson Predictions

For a number of days, I've been watching the Ferguson, Missouri situation.  This is my script on how this will all play out.

1.  The cop will be charged and brought into court.  The Grand Jury really can't avoid doing this....mostly because of the pressure from the public.  The trial period?  Oh, that will be at least May of 2015 at the earliest.  Anyone thinking of swift or immediate effects....is smoking dope.

2.  By the end of 2014, I anticipate at least a dozen members of the police force will have moved on.  There's only around fifty cops in town.....anticipate a new crowd hired....mostly black officers to appease the public.  By May of 2015 (my expected date of the trial)?  Figure another six to ten will have found new jobs and moved on.

3.  An odd thing will occur in the first week of this trial.  The autopsy will reveal that the shots came from only inches away from the body, and went in from a downward position....meaning the cop shot upward as the guy likely launched himself at the cop.  Remember....the victim is taller than the cop.  The first witness with be the victim's buddy who was with him.....describing him and the victim on their knees as the shooting occurs, and the cop standing six to ten feet away.  The defense attorney will ask if he really saw the situation....because the shots went in a upward slant....meaning the cop would have to be almost laying down on the ground, to meet the factual evidence presented.

4.  At this point, the judge will quietly ask the prosecutor and defense attorney to meet with him.....the case is screwed up because the witness testimony just won't work with the evidence.  Go to lesser charges or expect at best a hung jury or a acquittal of all charges by the jury.  Nothing much happens to change the prosecutors stance.

5.  The case ends as an acquittal or hung jury.

6.  Riots start immediately that night in Ferguson, with the new police force doing mostly nothing but driving around, picking up donuts, and avoiding any contact with the public.  At least twenty business operations are looted to a significant degree and ten businesses are set on fire.  Owners were smart in buying insurance to cover the situation.....collecting on the pay-out.....and at least a dozen business operations will shut down completely.  Lack of trust in the cops protecting the public and business operations will lead to around twenty-five total business fronts shutting down by the end of 2015.

7.  The cops?  Well....with less business fronts....come less tax revenue.  The city decreases its budgets and lays out five cops by spring of 2016....mostly the new black cops who came in on the force.  They pursue handing out more traffic tickets, to increase cash revenue for the city.....infuriating the public even more.

8.  Lack of confidence with the mayor and city council....end up with a total change in leadership by 2018.  By 2022.....between corruption, drugs, and a lack of trust in the cops.....Ferguson will be considered one of the worst places in Missouri to live.

9.  The toxicology tests from the guy shot?  Oh, that will reveal "weed" in his system to a significant degree, and I humbly suggest that PCP will be found in some quantity.  The rest of the autopsy will suggest that the victim had to be standing and within inches of the cop.....when he received the various shots fired.  It will never fit within the description given by the victim's buddy.  No one will be able to explain with a decent story how the two conflicting stories fit together.

Yeah, it's a screwed up mess.  And if you live in Ferguson.....it's probably best to start thinking about moving or leaving town.  Staying just isn't a long term positive.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Bonus to Vote

Having been in the Air Force for twenty-two years and crossed around America....I came to note at some point that some significant cities or urban areas have multiple elections....something that doesn't happen in Bama.  In Bama, we have a full-up election every two years, and a presidential election once every four years.  There are primary elections.....but that's generally it.

If you live in an area like DC, Philly, or Atlanta.....there are occasional municipal elections....just to vote on the city council, the DA, etc.  From my experience of living around Arlington, VA.....I came to realize that few residents show up for a municipal election.  Maybe out of a hundred registered voters....if you were lucky....maybe twenty-five folks would show.

Low municipal voting tends to lead to odd scenarios.  A key city council or county commission job might have six people running, and with 100,000 registered voters....there's only twenty-five thousand votes to play with on six candidates.

This all leads to a scenario where "Freaky Karl" shows up as one of the six....wearing a weird purple suit....talking about space aliens, sparking discussion over lifestyles, and pushing weird agendas....then accidentally getting four thousand votes.  Toss in ''Marvelous May" who allures men voters with some black leather outfit and six-inch heels....getting three thousand votes.  Suddenly, a legit candidate is screwed because seven thousand votes are cast for nut-cases.

The Arlington city council always had to worry that their primary democrat candidate might accidentally lose the election to the Green Party candidate or the libertarian guy....simply because not enough people were going to vote.

Well....this week out in L A.....there's a curious story.  It won't be on CNN or Fox, or get printed in USA Today.....but there's talk of offering a bonus or cash prize for folks who come out to a municipal election.

There's a panel deal created now, and they will examine the idea of offering a cash prize for municipal elections....to entice people to just show up.  The amount?  Not really in focus yet....but they are suggesting $25,000 to $50,000 as the necessary amount to make this gimmick work.  Where would the money come from?  Your property and local sales taxes.

Personally, I think it's a lousy idea that you want democracy and republic values to work....with one vote per person....and the only way to get effect evidence of such is to offer a bonus.

Would it change anything?  I'm taking a guess that for folks who make over $50,000 a year and have a full work schedule.....it won't change anything.  You got a guy on a pension or welfare.....it will absolutely entice them to show up to vote.

The better answer here?  Open up voting two weeks prior at the county court house, and allow people to show up Monday through Sunday....from 0700 to 1900....maybe even open up the voting deal at 5AM on some days to get guys going to work.

As for the bonus deal?  What they suggest is simply a drawing of the people who showed up to vote.  You'd probably pull ten names.  Five would get $500 each (my humble guess), four would get $1000 each, and one guy would walk away with $25,000.  Taxable?  Oh YEAH.  It'd have to be taxable.

If you had suggested this gimmick to Thomas Jefferson....I suspect he would have started laughing, and tears flowing down his cheeks.....amused at the necessity of fixing democracy in this way.  Just having the right to vote....sometimes is not enough for democracy to exist, and that should draw everyone to question where exactly we are going with this current line of thinking.

The Zombie Gay Subject

There is this odd suggestion going on with the AMC Network show.....The Walking Dead.  Some folks have suggested that since they don't have any real gay characters.....they need to identify one of the primary characters as such.  The suggestion?  Daryl, the bow-hunter.

Yeah, the character of Daryl has become the hero of sorts for the zombie series.  There are two hero characters on the show....Rick (the cop) and Daryl (the bow-hunter).

The necessity of having a gay character?  Well....some people just watch the series and kinda note after a while that everyone seems to have regular sexual lifestyles....no one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, into bondage, a toy-freak, cross-dressing, or into dressing up as German Nazi Gestapo type people for bedroom fun.  In the midst of all the zombie attacks and revolutionary wars going on within the script.....I have to admit I hadn't really thought much about lack of lesbians or cross-dressing lifestyles or transexuals not being around in this fantasy of zombies attacking society.

The fact that we've cross over fifty episodes now, and Daryl's lifestyle hasn't been even marginally discussed?  Well....it'd seem awful hard to suddenly come up into the fifth season and suggest Daryl was a closet-gay-guy for this entire period of zombie attacks.  You might as well suggest that Rick was a member of the KKK or a life-long member of the Democratic Party....as if it matters in the zombie era.

This all brings me to the discussion of older series that were successful and how we'd have to accomodate certain things in 2014 with certain characters.

Boneza?  Hoss would have had to have been gay.

Gilligan's Island?  Mary Ann and Ginger would have some type of bisexual relationship going on, between them, the professor and maybe Gilligan.

Edith from All in the Family would have some relationship on the side with her beautician friend.....a black gal in her forties.

Kitty from Gunsmoke would have some lesbian girlfriend.

John-boy from the Waltons would have had some hot lusty affair with a traveling male shoe salesman from Baltimore.  

Mr Ed (the horse) would have had a secretive gay affair with another gay horse from the local riding club.

All the sailor guys on McHale's Navy would have been gay or bisexual.

It's an indication of where society has gone over the past twenty years.....just unable to accept a plain regular story anymore.....demanding that there is some lusty sex, and something of a raw nature challenging their fantasy world.  I'm not even sure that Sanford and Son could survive today....without Fred waking up from a hard night of drinking....to find both his cousin Ester and some other gal in bed with him, and discussing the idea of the three getting married in Utah over the weekend.  

Friday, 15 August 2014

Rand Might Be Right On This

Rand Paul, about every six months....says something I agree with.  Yeah, it's rare.

Yesterday, Rand came out with a comment leading back to the Ferguson riot situation....that we need to demilitarize our police force.  I have to admit....I do agree totally with Rand on this episode.

At some point in the early 1960s (Philly in 1964)....SWAT was created.  Historians and journalists don't chat much over what drive Philly to start a SWAT.  Some people will talk about radical movements which really start to take root in the mid-1970s....but few if any of those existed in 1962/1963 on the streets of Philly.

What the historians do chat about...is the Los Angeles dealings with radical crime elements and revolutionary warfare in 1967.  The radicals of the late 60's had arrived and were turning L A into a very dangerous place for the regular cop with a 38-pistol or shotgun.

What most of us can say is that it was barely noticed in the 1970s....but all of the top forty cities in America saw SWAT as public relations gimmick to make the public happy.  By the 1980s....they were acquiring armored vehicles from Army surplus.  Bigger name cities like Atlanta or Denver were putting up an ample budget for larger caliber automatic rifles, more ammo, and fancy gear that you'd typically see on some TV show or movie.

By the 1990s.....most smaller towns with seventy cops.....had some group of guys that they sponsored and gave them SWAT gear.  They wanted it used for house searches and incorporated the SWAT tactics into everyday cop "warfare".

People got around to accepting cop "warfare".  Guys came off Iraq/Afghanistan duty.....got out....moved into law enforcement.....and talked their bosses into acquiring military-related gear.

So, now we have towns of 100,000 residents, with 150 cops, who carry an awful lot of military gear....dress like military "thugs"....and mostly pretend to be cops but are something radically different.

As for the Ferguson episode?  I'm not sure what happened (in terms of facts) that caused this kid to be killed by the one cop there.  It seems like the kid felt he needed to escape....if you go by the story told by the media, but you'd ask if there was something left out of the story, or if the kid was charged up on some kinda drug and didn't grasp that.

As for the days of riots since then?  None of the local business fronts want their operation broken into or burnt to the ground.  Cops are trying to make sure things get defused.  Locals see the military-style in operation and don't like it......with hundreds of non-locals arriving and just making the mess worse.

All of this ought to make people ask questions about their police strategy....like Rand says.  But I doubt if the cops want to go to a kinder or gentler mentality.     They've bought their toys and don't intend to lose them.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Driverless Era

Monday, came a five-star article with the Wall Street Journal (my favorite daily paper)...."How do you ensure a driverless automobile?"

The issue is that we are quietly progressing almost weekly toward the day that one state will approve full-use of a driverless truck/car/delivery vehicle.

Insurance companies are kinda quiet on this.  I suspect they hope that a decade or two will go by before this actually happens.  They need more data....more information....more accident reports....to come to some mythical number that says something about fate and a driverless car.

Imagine the first driverless car accident in Texas.  Some driver will yell and scream as a Texas cop drives up.....a driverless car hit him.  He'll try to blame everything possible in ten minutes on the other vehicle.  Eventually, the cop will download the video and data from the driverless car.....basically showing the human at fault.  The guy will sue in local court.....finding that the local judge can't agree with him either.

Two years into the driverless era in one state.....it'll spread to other states, and be accepted nationwide within five years (I'll go ahead and  predict New York state is the last state to accept them....meaning an end to the human-driven taxi force of New York City).

Total accidents in the first two years of use?  I'll make a prediction it'll be around the normal number of accidents.....but a strange thing will occur with video and data collected.  Cops will come to agree almost down to one-hundred-percent of cases.....that it was the other driver that triggered the accident.

The driverless car?  It automatically slowed down in bad weather.  It came to a complete stop when the air temperature and humidity reached the point of possible ice.  Tired-driver syndrome?  Ended.  Drunk-driving accidents?  Ended.

Somewhere in this five-year period of introduction.....I'll predict that insurance companie come to a shocking realization.....a standard of $100 a year will be introduced...mostly because they can't find fault in the data, systems, or programming.  When asked why $100 works.....they won't be able to respond.....other than saying they had to charge something.  Profits for the insurance companies?  It'll start to be questioned.

By 2025, I expect one state to accept driverless vehicles....related to the delivery trade.  Eleven years away?  Yeah.  For some reason, I see legal challenges coming up continually and keeping the idea from being adopted early on.  It just won't be easy for any US culture or society to accept it.  It might even show up in the UK before the US.

Yeah....a radical change to our lifestyles.....letting Ford or BMW drive us.

Worst Adaption of Book to Movie Ever

There are a lot of books that have been turned into movies.  Some are twisted badly....Catch-22....for example.  The book is ten times better than the movie.

My nomination for this is Fantomas.

The series of books over Fantomas (the character)....written by Marcel Allain (1885-1969) and Pierre Souvestre (1874-1914)....two French gentlemen.

Fantomas was this bad-ass character, who got himself into various jams.....with dying left and right as his effort of cleaning up a mess.  There was nothing left to the imagination.  Fantomas was a nutcase who could have killed anyone just for the enjoyment of the act.

These two guys teamed up to write 32 total novels on their character....Fantomas.  As Souvestre passes away in 1914 (not from the war, but from a lung ailment).....there is a twelve-year period where Fantomas is finished, and then in 1925....Fantomas will reappear for a couple of books.  

If you'd asked any Frenchman in the 1890s to 1914 about a good decent book....most of them had read at least one Fantomas novel and could cite the general story and evil nature of Fantomas.  

All of this kinda remains to history, until 1964....when a French producer picked up the novels and developed a comical science fiction piece with a police chief in the midst of a chase of Fantomas.  The comedy side of the movie went onto appealing to a large audience in France, and throughout all of Europe.  The evil nature of Fantomas?  Basically gone.  He was just a bad guy......nothing much beyond that.  None of the murders and terrible stuff.

I've watched the 1964 movie at least ten times and always enjoy the police chief (similar to the Peter Sellers character of Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame).   Compared to the book?  No.  

There's a rumor in France of an effort to turn the Fantomas novels back into a realistic movie....going to the serious nature of the book, rather than reusing the 1964 comical story.  It might happen.....but I doubt if it's ever made.  

The History Change

The College Board....is an organization that gears tests to some way....assessing if you really learned much in high school, and gives you a ranking.  This all paves the way for you to attend a fine, lesser-than-fine, or a far-step-from-fine college/university.

There's some debate that has erupted over the last month over the question of history, and the new upgraded test structure.  The comments over this developed new structure?  Somewhat negative, with accusations that the people who developed the new strategy are looking negative upon history.

The obvious changes?  Multiple choice questions are gone.  Shocking?  To some degree.  

The new way of testing?  A number of charts and historical documents are laid out for you to read through, then you have to assess the questions asked, analyze the documents and data, and note your answer.

The essay portion?  Well....it went from two significant essay tasks to be written....to four lesser significant essays.  Your writing skills are challenged to a degree...meaning you had gained some talents via English, grammar and literature classes.  Failing the essay because of lousy writing skills?  Yes.....it's entirely possible you want get picked up by a big-name college because you had a vast knowledge of history, but you just couldn't write to the degree they desired.  At that point, you are destined to some community college.

The questions being posed to the College Board?  It's more than just a dozen aspects.

I kinda noted at some point.....the people opposing these changes to the history test asked one simple question....who wrote the new history structure for the test of the College Board.

It's a simple question.  You'd expect the College Board to simply note three or six or nine prominent national history professors having done the project, and they'd vouch for the fine work they'd done.

Well...the College Board has sat and denied the names of the writers of the history testing project.

This has led various people looking at the reaction by the College Board as odd.  Normally, you'd be proud of changes, and people would associate their names with such a project.  In this case....no names.

There is another suggestion to this....that no actual college professor wrote any of the test changes, and it was simply assigned to some college grad students who were working under one professor with a slanted view of history.

What's all of this mean?  The entry port to studying history at any significant college in America....is this stupid College Board test.  If it says you have to do A, B and C in a stupid fashion.....to pass a test, then you will study that way and mentally prepare yourself in that fashion.  Wrongful interpretation of history......to get you into big-name college history program?  Yeah....as silly as it sounds.

Did we always require this College Board test to get to some university program?  No.  Once we commercialized colleges (1900s), you had to have some method of limiting enrollment to the bigger name colleges.  The College Board started out about a hundred years ago....acting as an agent....with tests that would separate the winners and losers.  Everyone accepted their independent status and middle-of-the-road authority on tests.  We are closing in on a dilemma where people now question the Board and how they reach a change in their tests.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Simply Observations

First, some smart guys sat around and asked the question....did "cash-for-clunkers" work?  They collected data, analyzed, and finally poured out a report.  What the Texas A&M University study said....was that cash-for-clunkers....was a failure.  Most people who did the deal, swapped their old vehicle for a fairly reasonable or cheaper vehicle replacement (there weren't that many examples of people going for upscale vehicles or the $30,000-type cars).  The older cars flipped into the system were all required to be destroyed....so the secondary market suffered.  Total lost?  If you count the two issues....around six-billion-dollars.  That's tax revenue that we all generated, which went down the tubes in a bogus way.

Second, the feds keeping hinting of Ebola-testing at airports and preventing the disease from entering the country.  News reporters finally got around to asking the FAA, TSA, and such....what kind of Ebola testing?  And there is no clear answer coming from the Fed guys.  What you see....is some guy in a blue uniform simply doing a temperature scan of your forehead.  Got a fever, you get asked where you come from....otherwise, you go on.  It's kinda like the Grandma method of checking you prior to school....feeling your head and noting you have a fever or perfectly OK.  No real science....just Grandma logic.  This kinda makes you wonder if Grandma's ways were right, or if we are just blowing hot-air out in our chatter about preventing Ebola from entering the US.

Third, the President described criticism of his Iraq strategy as "Horse-Sh*t".  It's an odd term for the President to use....mostly because he's never been quoted in his life using the term.  This kinda suggests that someone around him used the term, and he just carried it over and used it for himself.  Will this be a trend....the President uttering "Horse-Sh*t" every two or three weeks?  I kinda doubt it.  Course, the other thing I might wonder is that he's burned out and tired...causing him to let loose with a profanity term once or twice a week now.  As for the Iraq strategy?  Yeah, it's a pretty bogus deal....but I wouldn't get worried about it.  We have a screwed up economic strategy, a bad immigration strategy, a border failure strategy, and at least twenty other strategies which aren't going nowhere and apparently stagnant.  The President would have to utter "Horse-Sh*t" forty times a day....to get anyone worried about these failures.

Fourth, I noted some gal from Arkansas...arrested by the cops for the death of her kid, and possibly the husband.  What the cops generally say is that both "Wanda" and "Bob" (my names for the couple) were doing meth (possibly in the extreme), and got to the point of being paranoid....delusional....and lapsing away from reality.  They felt unknown characters were after them.....packed up and went off into the hills of Arkansas.  There, they must have done more meth.....conjured up more imaginary characters, and apparently thought each other was one of the imaginary characters....attacking one another.  All of this led the wife to "go for help"....leaving the kid with the husband (or the conjured evil person, depending on your state of mind).  Cops come later to find the kid dead, and the husband dead.  All of this leads me to this observation of America.  At any given time....at least ten thousand Americans are doping up and high off meth....to the degree of imagining Teddy Roosevelt sitting in their presence, talking to Thor about women, or sitting for a coffee chat with Madam Curie of French radiation fame.  Somehow, we are in the midst of some zombie era, and just lucky to survive each and every day.

Fifth, I came to note from my local German news....a bunch of political genius types from Bremen are chatting up a storm on the idea of fixing the brothel and hooker business.  Oh, they don't want to get rid of the business structure....but they'd like to start a wage-system.  Course, you'd ask why?  It would create a fairness in the hooker trade....at least by a bureaucratic mentality.  So you can imagine this strategy....sexual act "A" would cost X, sexual act "B" would cost Y, and sexual act "C" would cost Z.  Yeah, some government guy would determine the value of each act, and then set the city or county standards to that act.  You can imagine the position created for this job....the back-ground required....and how you'd frame these cost comparisons for people to understand.  Basically, I suspect within a year....all hooker trade within Bremen would be zeroed-out and four-hundred local hookers would have moved just beyond the city limits....admitting that government help just screwed up the business more than it was already.

Sixth and final.....at some point in July....the government via various contracting elements....was trying to find various places to house hundreds of thousands of illegal alien teens who are in the US and can't possibly be sent back.  They were to the point of examining warehouses....possibly converting them over into some kind of dorm....and making it livable.  The cost of converting a simple warehouse into a living quarters for four-hundred teens?  I'd take a guess that just furniture alone for one warehouse...would be $150,000.  Bathroom facilities for one building?  Figure around $400,000 to set up enough toilets and showers.  The watch-crew for four hundred punks at one location?  Figure three shifts a day and enough people to run this operation for seven days a week.....365 days a year?  At least forty hired helpers, and a dozen managers/nurses.  Billions could be spent on this strategy.  It'd be cheaper to ship the kids back to Honduras or El Salvador....paying them each $75 a day in cash....just to sit around there.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Black Jesus Show

I refrain from discussing much on TV options.  I've been that way for a decade....having come to realize the vast wasteland created by cable networks and enormous bucket of one and two star shows.

I've pretty much given up watching Sixty Minutes....their gimmick investigative analysis stuff has drifted off and the show has lost its appeal.  It's like a cheerleader squad....instead of the original crew's success stories taking on corporations, the federal government, and stupid political bureaucrats.

The plateau of epic series like Lost?  I've noticed around five attempts since Lost ended....to regenerate the same interest and enthusiasm for a dark and mysterious storyline.  Almost all have failed miserably.  Once Upon a Time has certain potential, but the weaker pieces weigh down a person being a regular viewer.

 This week, a new show started on the BET network....Black Jesus.  I sat down yesterday and watched it.  It's the story of a guy in a robe, who has adapted the Jesus-mentality in Compton, California....in the "hood".

This black Jesus recites pieces from the Bible and tries to incite his associates to do the right thing.  Typically, they listen to the black Jesus....argue the counter-argument....and eventually get into some "hood" situation where things turn out OK in the end.  Yeah, there's some weed involved, booze, suggestions of illicit sex, corruption, white punks meddling in hood business, and discussions over business deals which are pretty stupid and illegal but enticing.

Christian groups rising up against the TV show Black Jesus?  Oh, my....yes.  They will ridicule the name of the show and the use of Christianity as a gimmick for the script.  They want BET to remove the show, and return to the traditional theme of bad shows with bad scripts with acceptable names.

My take on Black Jesus?  It's got potential to rival Seinfeld in three or four seasons.  If there is some character development.....a continuation of good scripts....introduction of politics tied to the hood....and a healthy discussion of religion in the real world.....I think it would be very successful.

What I noticed this morning was that viewer numbers (it was put on the air at 11PM)....were at the very top....it beat all other programming.  That's kind of an indicator that people like this idea of a black Jesus....roaming Compton.....and trying to bring stability to a chaotic world.  Maybe it'll stick around for a while.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The 1960 Nixon?

At the end of the 1950s.....we were at an era where the Eisenhower period was going to end, and an election would really set up the entire 1960s in one direction or another.  The 1960 election is rarely discussed today in any forum.  The vote difference between Kennedy and Nixon (then Eisenhower's VP)?  2,000 votes nation-wide separated the two.  That's it.

Based on the electoral college.....Kennedy had a more hefty number, but then you examine state-by-state numbers.  If Illinois had just found another 1,000 votes....it would have gone to Nixon.  Texas was only 46,000 votes away from Nixon winning there.

This all sets up a rather unique era if Nixon had won and gone on to win 1964 as well.

No JFK shooting in Dallas.  The Cuba missile crisis would have been handled in a different fashion.  The civil rights period would likely have gone in a different direction.  Vietnam....might never have become a major conflict.  The drugs introduced into the US as the war proceeded.....might not have occurred.

There are a list of things that occur because of a unique election....that was a lot closer than people tend to remember today.  Bogus votes?  There's no doubt that thousands of votes across the nation went into the system in some fashion of being bogus.

Nixon in 1960, instead of 1968?  No Watergate.  No Jimmy Carter.  No Ford presidency.  No Clinton era?

Yeah, things would have gone in a different direction.....if a thousand votes had appeared in Illinois. Just something to ponder upon.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

My Ten Solutions to Climate Change (If It Existed)

Not that I spend an awful lot of time thinking about it or pondering over it....but generally....there are roughly twelve methods to limiting the continuation line on global warming....if it does exist.  I've generally taken the position that once the brilliant among us declared global cooling to be in effect and a terrible pain....then fifteen years later, the same group voiced they were wrong and went to global warming, and ten years later, to climate change.

You can't modify or change science like this....unless you really don't know what you are doing, and to suggest that carbon credits or carbon fees tied into society and culture answers the problem....means there is no problem and this was all a cash redistribution effort.

So, my dozen fundamental changes?

One....you start with hydrogen-run cars, and hydrogen-storage tanks.  So far....the Japanese are the only ones putting real effort into this and will be the first to market across their nation (my humble opinion).  Taxing people to reach this?  No.....just investing into university programs and putting smart people onto the projects.

Two....improved energy efficiency across all lanes (home, business operations, stores, power plants, etc).  Taxing people to reach improvements?  No....just investing into technology and rewarding those who reach a sellable product.  If you want to tax heavily on heavy-power consumers....the guys with a heated pool and four freezers in their garage?  Ok....no issue with that....but the idea that regular people need to feel some kind of pain?  No.

Three....fuel economy of regular cars.  Basically.....fuel cost today is forcing people to move themselves from SUV vehicles....to smaller vehicles.  It's stupid to artificially pump gas up to six dollars a gallon to make some illegitimate point.  Three-cylinder cars becoming the norm?  I'd take a guess by 2030.....half of all cars made will be three-cylinder models, and there will even be a few two-cylinder two-passenger cars on the market (thirty horse-power might appeal to some folks if you just said the yearly tax was $10).

Four.....nuclear power being expanded.  Yeah, I know.....all that bad stuff could happen.  The thing is....you have to start gauging your problems and realize that nuke power might be evil but acceptable.

Five.....go to urban communities and put the thought of growth on forests around a town as a priority.  Offer to pay some community groups to plant a thousand trees a month for an entire spring.  Offer to change open fields near cities back into forests.  Offer a $50 credit on yearly property taxes if a two-acre home owner would just plant six new trees on his property.

Six....set your house thermostat to sixty-nine degrees in winter and eighty degrees in the summer.  It won't be a perfect temperature but it'd cut back on energy usage.  And if you haven't modernized your house with insulation in thirty years or weatherized the windows ever.....maybe set an incentive for a guy to do this (don't tax them.....offer a simple yearly tax credit).

Seven....fire half of the global warming alarmists who run around and suggest your hernia came from global cooling, or your baldness came from global warming.  They disrespect the science and the general intelligence of society.  These are the people who need to drive cabs, shovel snow, or set up the shelves at Piggly Wiggly with merchandise.  You've got way too many "experts" and they have to threaten society with freaky predictions.....to keep their jobs with foundations.  We don't need their help.

Eight.....chop off all carbon credit taxes on airlines or airports entirely.  These are entirely bogus in nature and simply shuffle money off to bogus entities.  If you did want to do some good....offer the blimp guy developing cheaper and better forms of transportation.....some tax incentives.  Put up some blimp ports down in Florida and a few in New Jersey, pushing for $99 one-way tickets via blimp (16-hour flights).

Nine.....positively forbid global climate change conferences at five-star resorts around the world where your chief players fly into the conference on a private jet with four others....wine and dine forty others with crab flown in from Alaska and wine from France....and talk for three days straight about the impending doom.  Start having conferences out in the west Texas area of Waco.....forcing people into two-star hotels.....and suggest they'd find better ways to waste time and money.

Ten.....take a society approach of less driving.  In the last fifty years, it's become common now that a guy lives fifty to seventy miles from work and drives this daily.  While at the Pentagon, I knew a guy who drove 115 miles daily to work....all one-way.  We ought to be able to produce less maintenance-free cars and start to challenge guys to either live closer or find other forms of employment.  To imagine some guy sitting around for fifty years and driving the whole time at 25,000 miles a year.....is a bit silly.  Taxing the guy?  No.  But we ought to find some method of simply getting more incentive to the guy to find a different angle to this deal.  


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Simplified Views

You could spend eighteen hours a day viewing various news items and trying to grasp the significance to you....yourself.  Or you could simplify these down to a point of easy understanding.

Ebola?  It's relatively safe.  It's kinda like you getting a bag of six rattlesnakes in a canvas bag, tied by our cousin at the end, and then the bag is thrown into the car trunk for a three-hour drive.  What could happen?  Normally nothing out of ninety-nine trips....it's just that one-hundredth trip, where your cousin's knot wasn't secure, and the snakes got out of the trunk that you worry about all the heck that would occur.

The President's executive order sequence?  Well....ninety-nine percent of all executive orders over the past one-hundred years have likely had no effect on you...yourself.  That's the plain simple truth.  So the question is....could some guy be creative enough to finally invent some executive orders that affect the regular guy off the street?  And if they did.....what exactly could you do alone to halt, hinder or prevent it?  A counter executive order by you....the guy on the street?

Hillary Clinton in 2016?  When you sit back and look at 2008.....wondering how the heck anyone could screw up an Iowa primary and lose to a virtual unknown Illinois Senator with a eight-line resume and no real accomplishments in life?  The answer?  You don't know how to run a primary campaign in Iowa, or for that matter....any other state.  So, the Hillary effort in 2016....is mostly bogus, unless you were some media organization looking for hype.

The IRS mess?  Week after week....the Republicans drag out a marginal effort to put illegal activities by the IRS into court.  No one really cares....either from the Republican or Democratic parties.  The likely reason?  One might suspect that the Republicans have found the golden calf, and will utilize the IRS in the same fashion in 2016, as they win the Presidency and control both the House and Senate for a brief period....meaning that dozens of Democratic agenda groups under the foundation gimmick situation....will have problems with the newly-controlled IRS.  If you were a Democrat.....you might start shaking your head because this has opened up a big can of worms for decades ahead.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The $10,000 Solution

Down in Miami, there's an association who will be offering $10,000 to anyone who can prove voter fraud in November's election.

It's a one-time deal, and I suspect if eight people bring up names and evidence....they will have to split the $10,000.

All of this brings me to the state of voter fraud in the United States today.  Over the past decade, I'd take a guess that around twenty people have been identified and given some type of conviction....typically with probation and some fine paid.  Generally, I'd say that thirty percent of the public believes in voter fraud being a normal event now.

Two or three decades ago....it would have been impossible for people to get the data, identify the issue, and show enough evidence for voter fraud.  Today?  Things are slightly different and spreadsheets are a major tool in tracking down addresses and comparing notes.

So, I'd like to make a simplified suggestion.  As you walk in to register at the county office....you get a sheet that says you, upon conviction in a county court of voter fraud, will not only pay the county fine, repent by not voting for the next ten years, but will pay the person or association who discovered your voter fraud a $6,000 fee within thirty days of conviction (or lodge a $6,000 bond to be held by the judge if you appeal this verdict).

All of this would suddenly interest locals in who voted and where they voted.  You'd force the clerks to reveal data sheets.  You'd spent twenty hours doing analysis instead of watching NCAA football.  And you'd eventually find eight guys in your ward, who voted across the state line in Mississippi or Missouri as well.  Eight notifications.....eight convictions eventually, and you got yourself $48,000 (taxable of course).

You could take off to Aruba and actually spend four months there....boozing it up and eating buffet dinners at the marginal hotels.

Would Republicans or Democrats press for a fee deal on voter fraud?  No.  Which kinda leads you around to asking if both parties have manipulation going on, and simply don't want to exercise restraint in a corrupted system?

Will someone claim the $10,000 in Miami's November election?  Yes.  Over a dozen people being identified?  I'm betting on that.  People voting in both Miami and New York City elections?  I'm betting on that as well.  Do they realize the implications....the threats.....the potential jail-time or fines?  They ought to realize it.

Kinda sad....democracy unable to function right.....because of a bizarre attitude over fraudulent voting. And the only way Americans can fix it?  By offering a bribe to find the guilty party.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Statistical Warfare

Years ago, I was in the Air Force and stationed at McChord AFB, Washington.  Around 1979....this major on the base was doing a master's degree program in statistical analysis.  He had a class project and just decided to ask Air Force people how they prioritized their benefits and what they really wanted.

Roughly a year later....he's finished with the thesis and data collection project....publishes it and even sends on copies to Air Force leaders within the Mobility Command.  It was a shocker.....pay wasn't the top priority....what people wanted was stability and time off.

Naturally, a fire-storm erupted....who gave this major permission to collect data?  This conflicted with the fake reality that Air Force leaders had of their people and their priorities.  It was the first time that someone ever sat down and asked real people their opinions, and it disagreed with the perceived "truth".

This past week.....I noticed that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) got itself into a fire-storm.

For some reason, the CDC felt that it needed to know an accurate number of how many gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals there were in America.  They went out and collected data....polling 35,000 Americans.

The end result?  Basically....1.6-percent of Americans fall into the category of gay, lesbian or bi-sexual.  That would end up with a rough number of 3.8 million (give or take).

Yeah, that's it.

It's a problem now because the general perceived number in America is somewhere between twenty and thirty percent....meaning that somewhere between fifty and a hundred million Americans fall into this category.  You can ask various journalists, political figures, and prominent-know-nothings....they will all cite the twenty-five percent number as they are interviewed.

So, it's disturbed some folks. It's a heavy weight that is being carried by these 3.8 million gays, lesbians or bi-sexual folks.  Millions of hours have been put into the gay marriage issues, personal rights, and various other civil discussions....over roughly 3.8 million individuals....which compares to the state population of Oklahoma.

Anger and hostility at the CDC?  Yeah.  Questions are being raised about who authorized the survey....how the polling was done....and if there was some political agenda at work.

It also poses some curious questions.  If there are only 3.8 million people fitting into this category....then the max number of special marriages can only be 1.9 million.....if every single gay, lesbian and bi-sexual married one of their own.  That's it.  Course, you could marry the wrong guy....divorce him.....find another guy.....marry him....divorce him.....and then repeat this five times....just to build up statistical numbers.

How did we ever get to the imaginary number of twenty-five percent of Americans being gay or lesbian or bi-sexual?  I'm not sure.  I doubt if it was ever a scientific poll, and maybe it just got printed out on some news article....fake data....for a fake political agenda.  People just read it and believed it all to be true.  Kinda like Vulcan-mind-control, and how a hundred-thousand Americans believe it's a real feat that some folks are capable of.

Does the 3.8 million number matter?  It's a big difference when people were thinking fifty million Americans were gay, and now they might realize it's just under four million.  It's kinda like building a big new five-hundred-million-dollar football stadium for some professional team, and you can barely get ten-thousand people to show up....so the stadium is mostly empty.  What was the hype that got the stadium built and how can the team get any real news coverage?

It's hard to say where this goes.  I'm guessing some professors will now assign various studies to students and find that new polling data goes into different directions.....maybe forty percent of all women are bi-sexual and ten percent of all Alaskan men are gay.  Maybe the polling data will show the student population of Texas Tech is ninety-eight percent gay.  Maybe sixty percent of all CNN correspondents are bi-sexual, while ninety percent admit they are Democrats.

Yeah, it's statistical warfare.  And it's not clean, pure, logical, or perfect.

The Ward Situation

In the epic fictional series of Batman....Bruce Wayne (secretly Batman) had a young ward assigned to him (Dick Grayson).  Dick would eventually become Robin.  By the general rule of state laws (not federal)....you as a kid under eighteen years old and without parents will undergo a legal process with a county or state court, and be assigned to some adult.  It might traditionally a relative or close friend of your parents.  It's a local or state process.....NOT federal.

Throughout the history of the United States....episodes involving wards stayed at the local or state level because the federal government had no jurisdiction in this type of business.

For me to look at the current and charged-up episode of Latino teenagers coming into the US, and a bunch of federal government individuals getting all peppy over how they need to handle the episode.....I'm perplexed.

There's never been a federal method of detaining a illegal-entry teen for federal law violation.  I can't recall any law that really fits or applies.  Normally, you'd have to treat them as you'd treat an adult.  Yet we have people talking of camps just for teens, or just blank residency to fix the problem.

The US government acting as the master over 250,000 wards?  It's an odd scenario.  If you'd laid this out ten years ago.....people would have laughed over the scenario and just said it'd never happen in America.

Getting the federal authority to turn the illegal teens over to a county or state apparatus, which is geared toward the ward-mentality?  It's hard to imagine where this would start and how people would make it work.  The federal system would have to agree into a partnership, which traditionally is something you avoid as a federal representative. Typically, it's a one-way street and the federal authority prefers to dictate things.

These youth camps that are suggested?  Basically, it's a fenced-off area....where the wards stay in and outsiders don't enter.  Part of this is to protect the wards of the federal government, and part of this is to limit the appearance of illegals in some county or state.  The guys or gals hired to monitor the wards?  All on some federal contract, and their "companies" are making a fair amount of profit.  They tend to use the word "Christian" somewhere in their company title.....yet there are questions on their ethics and nature tied to Christian morality.

How long would the camps be around?  Well.....no one has said we are at a peak, and I'd suggest that some teens in Africa and Asia are looking at this funnel.  How would a twelve-year-old kid cross the Atlantic.....getting to Honduras....then onto the train-network.....finally arriving across the border in America and get "ward-status"?  I would imagine some kids are going to find ways to make this work.

So....five years from now?  We might actually have three or four million teens who've made the system work and now wards of the federal government.  We might not even hit the peak of this episode until 2025.

Somehow, in the epic story of Batman, this ward business always turned out positive.....Dick Grayson had a pretty nifty house....decent clothing.....good education....developed good character while around Bruce Wayne.....learned some manners from Alfred the butler.....and saved a few people here and there as Robin.

For some reason.....I don't see too much good coming out of a bunch of federal guys handling wards of the federal government.   It just doesn't have the ring of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Our Vulcan-Mind-Society

Back in late May....there was a stabbing attempt up in Waukesea, WI....with two twelve-year old girls who attempt to kill a friend of theirs.  The stabbing?  Nineteen wounds, and this one girl was lucky to make it away and survive.

The judge questioned the sanity of the two twelve-year-old girls.  Reasoning?  An imaginary fantasy game was at the heart of this episode.

This past week....two mental health doctors came back from examining both young ladies.  For gal number one.....she was deemed mentally competent enough to be pushed into court and tried as an adult.  There's some questions about this, and I doubt if she does more than three to five years in some youth center.

The second kid (twelve years old)?  Well...this one doctor comes back and basically says that the kid thinks she's got Vulcan-mind-control.  She also talks to characters out of Harry Potter books.  And the kid thinks she has an ongoing relationship or friendship with some Ninja Turtles character.  Nutcase?  Yeah.  The Doc basically said that she needed to really grow up, and needed some really heavily medication.

The parents?  Teachers?  Associates?  They all put this kid in the normal intelligent group, and it kinda has shaken some people to consider her nuts at age twelve.

I worked with a guy years ago.....who the Air Force yanked to be an instructor at Goodfellow training school in west Texas.  My associate didn't really care for the job, but they wanted NCO's with bachelor degrees....which there were very few....and he was qualified for the instructor job.

As he said.....about a year into the job, he realized that there were a fairly large crowd of immature kids coming into the Air Force and not really prepared for the real world.

One day.....he had some 19-year-old female who'd failed a module....eight weeks into the class.  He had to quiz her and attempt to find a way to prepare her for the second test.  So he asked her for the notes she'd taken.  They were unreadable.

So he asked her if anyone else could read the notes, and she noted her other friend in the class...."Amber"....who could easily read the notes.  My associate accepted this and let her return to her desk.  Then he went to the roster of the class participants....no girl named "Amber".  He looked at the other classes.  No "Amber".

So he walked to the back of the room....where this gal sat, and asked about "Amber".  She points to an empty table next to him and an empty chair.  "Amber" was sitting there.  My associate asked...."Right now?" Yes of course was the response.

My associate walked quickly to the commander's office.....laid out this unique situation, and the commander doubted the story.  So the young gal is brought to the commander's office, and answers various questions, and then points to an empty chair in the room....where "Amber" was now sitting and indicating her friend was part of the class.

This gal had been through basic training, and had survived a security background check.  No one had ever noted her issues.

The commander dragged a female NCO along with him and drove this young gal over to the base clinic.  They kept her for several days....getting the same responses, and basically came to note that she was mentally perfectly ok....except for this imaginary friend. They processed the paperwork and around a month later......she was sent home.

In this case....this twelve-year-old kid in the attempted murder....is a nutcase and cannot be trusted.  How many such nutcases exist in America?  It's hard to say.  There could be forty thousand....there could be four-hundred-thousand.  Someone could walk up to you on the street....place their hand on your head, and then hint they are are doing Vulcan-mind-control over you....and then you kinda wonder if it's a joke or a nut.

Prior to the 1950s....we didn't really have science fiction or vampire-like stories.  We didn't have monsters, zombies, or alien predators.  Something happen over the past forty years, where society is continually being bombarded with these fake cultural derivatives.  Now?  There might be one percent of society that is unable to distinguish from Vulcan-mind-control and evil Republican politics.  The same group has trouble telling a difference between zombies and meth-head Democrats.

I even kinda wonder if this one gal in the intelligence school had just passed the test.....she would have gone on to more modules....passed them, and graduated out.  For all I know.....I might have been her first supervisor in the intelligence world, and found myself one day quizzing her over some failed project, and then she would have pointed to an empty chair and her friend "Amber".  Maybe I would have acknowledge "Amber"....but then hinted that "Amber" was a Karl Rove-agent and falsely pulling her toward a fake Republican agenda.  Would "Amber" had survived?  It's hard to say.  At some point, you wonder if reality would just set in one day, and cast the fake illusion folks adrift.

Sadly, all of the problems in the world.....and now I have to worry about fake Vulcan-mind-control idiots.....who might want to stab me while I stand in line at Piggly Wiggly and admiring the busty clerk handling merchandise.

The Three-Year Degree

There is an effort underway by Ohio....to develop and offer....three-year college degrees.  Basically, it'd be a bachelor's degree.

The general concept?  What they'd like to do is develop some relationship within the high school sector, and in that last year or two of high school....you'd do a couple of classes which lead to some method of testing and thus granted college credit.  The added reasoning to the project?  You'd cut out the costs of one entire year of college.  Figure that to be $15,000 that you won't have to borrow or pay-back.

Natural boundaries to this?  Yes.  Some folks don't want to consider it the equal of the current four-year program.  Added to the anti-pitch....there are the professors in various colleges who would be in lesser demand....so the pay deal and seniority would all be called into question once kids got firmly into the three-year program.  You'd threaten the general business plan of most American colleges.

At some point around the fifth year of my Air Force period....someone convinced me to sign up for Dantes testing at the base education center.  For each test you pass....you get three semester hours (one core class) of credit.  So over the course of one year.....I took around twenty tests.  I admit...other than the general math test (three hours of study over a weekend).....I never put any study efforts into the twenty tests.

I passed roughly ten Dantes and CLEP tests....figuring roughly thirty-six hours of total credit....equaling one entire year of college.  Just by watching Lawrence of Arabia and having read sixty pages of some text over a month....I passed the Middle Eastern history test.  The Vietnam War Dantes test was a breeze.

After finishing these....all free via the Air Force.....I started to wonder why Alabama hadn't offered these type tests to me back when I was sixteen and seventeen.

It's the same way with these various class modules you have today....via distance learning.  I could have probably taken two or three classes over the last two years of high school, and gotten college credit for that.

The college business cycle?  It's corrupted.

Let's be totally honest....if you are going after a four-year degree in business management....you have zero need to take any science-related classes or history-related classes.  If you were going after an electrical-engineering degree, you have zero need for biology classes or foreign-language classes.  If you wanted a four-year degree in French art.....why the heck would you take any science classes?

At some point in the 1800s.....most American universities went to a standard of four years equaling a bachelor's degree.  We can kinda admit today....that you basically ended up getting a plain-vanilla bachelor's degree up until the Civil War era.  By 1900, there were probably a dozen related degrees that you could get with big-name colleges on the east coast.

As much as they say they are a public-learning institution....non-profit in some sort of way.....it's basically a Wal-Mart style atmosphere where you say you want such-and-such degree, they hire up professors to teach it.....and then figure in some NCAA football action, heavy drinking and partying, and then "gift" you a degree by the end of four years (unless you really screw up).

I worked with a guy once who spent five years at some college in Florida.  The entire second year was a wash-out and he kinda admitted that he remembers almost nothing of the nine-month period, having been drunk or doped up for the whole time.  He left at some point, went into a six-week rehab program....got waivered to come back to the college (naturally, they wanted his dad's money), and finished up his degree.

I asked how he slide so far, and he admitted that everything in that first eighteen months was fairly boring, stale, and a repeat of the last year or two of high school.  He took to partying and rarely put any effort into any classes.  After rehab, he refocused himself....took higher advanced classes, got challenged, and easily graduated.

While colleges will tell you that kids are arriving unprepared for the first year of study, and marginally show any skills from the 12th grade of high school.....I'd suggest that most colleges have lowered their expectations enough now....that the first year of college is really a standard high-school year.  The sad thing is that you are paying $12,000 to $20,000 to repeat high school for that year and get yourself into shape to attend real college....in the second year.

So, I'm kinda for the three-year degree.  In fact, I'm all for wrapping up high school by the end of the tenth grade and offering you a simple test to conclude that part of your education in life.  It'll probably never happen, but we said that three-year degrees would never happen, and something came to change that logic.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Ebola Plan Number One

This is a map of the US government's planned Ebola quarantine stations.

A smart guy would look at it for a while, and then start asking questions.

First, you might notice that most of the stations are in the northeast....rather than planning a station in every region itself.

In the entire south, there's just going to be two sites....Miami and Atlanta.  Texas?  Three.

They attach your state to particular quarantine station.  So....if you live in north Bama....and Uncle Karl comes down with Ebola....the idea is that someone is going to transport Uncle Karl by truck, car, aircraft, etc.....to Miami.  The drive?  Figure twelve hours.

The whole northwest?  You would have to be transported to Seattle....even if you live clear out in east Montana.

If you read into the text of the whole plan....these quarantine stations are kinda developed with the idea that they could expand....but there is a limit to safe operation of such camps.  Even if you threw 3,000 National Guard troops into this mess...I'd suspect that a quarantine station can be maxed out at 10,000 patients....either passing away in two or three weeks....or somehow by the grace of the almighty surviving (figure a 10-percent rate of survival).

The chief job of the National Guard guys?  Probably to make sure you get dumped at the camp once pronounced with Ebola.....ensuring the doctors inside don't leave for any reason....and burying you as quickly as possible in some mass grave structure that they've already figured requires one bulldozer running full-time and around the clock.

There's another piece to this odd puzzle.  I watched a brief interview the other day and the expert said that there was plan A.....and that was it. The journalist asked if such-and-such happened....how would the plan evolve.  And the expert said that there's just plan A....NO plan B or plan C.  If things go beyond a certain point, there's no need for plan B or C.....at least by my interpretation of his comments.

If you had some relative with the Ebola....would you agree to let them grab the relative for the quarantine station?  That's another good question.  In Bama....I could see some folks apprehensive over letting some convoy operation come up and take your relative all the way down to Miami.  The trip itself?  It'd probably kill most folks in a severe weak condition.

 The order into quarantine?  I'm guessing, because so little has been said on the issue, that each county health department has a form letter which a doctor will sign, and a judge will stamp....thus throwing you into a federal quarantine program.  Course, this brings up the question if you just came in contact with some guy at the Piggly Wiggly with it, and if they'd sign the paperwork to send you off to Miami....just based on that two minute conversation you had with the inflected guy over pontoon boats and rafting.

So, you can imagine yourself....having four burly national guard guys show up at the house....with paperwork....and seize you to go off to Miami.  You get one bag and maybe a cellphone.  Laptops forbidden?  I'm guessing they wouldn't want you Facebooking out of the quarantine camp over your one-star marginal conditions or the lack of food.

If you survived the Ebola....at what point would they turn you loose from the quarantine camp? Two weeks?  Two months?  Six months?  No one has said much over the point of where you survived and aren't contagious anymore.   Could you catch it again?  No one says much over that idea.

Boozers and smokers?  They might find it difficult in the quarantine camp.....ample regulation to limit them on everything.  Even if you were in the suspected camp and not the sick camp.....you just might not be getting an opportunity to buy smokes.

The number of people who would just decline to identify themselves or just start hiding out in the woods?  I'd take a guess six months in an epidemic....fifty percent of the folks in Bama would be armed and refusing to be taken to any camp....anywhere.

So, not that I'm pessimistic or anything....Ebola Plan Number One....probably will be rated with the Affordable Health Care Act, and found to be a marginal successful failure.  Although, you won't be able to blame this one on the President or an incompetent congress or senate.