Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jail Time

I’m a little upset, as I know most of you are about the state of the economy, and it has nothing to do with that fact that I find myself unemployed for the second time in as many years plus one. The economy runs in cycles. It goes up, it goes down. Just does. People who think they can regulate away economic cycles are as misguided as those who think they can stop cyclical climate variations, and in many cases, they’re the same people. Take a second to look at the national debt clock. http://www.usdebtclock.org/ The numbers are so large as to be beyond our understanding. But you don’t need to be put off by all the motion. There are a couple of them that are still within the understandable limits of us mortals. The national debt is so large that if every single taxpayer were sent a bill for their share it would be for over $111,000.00. You’re going to have to spot me on this one because I don’t have it this week. The picture’s a little brighter if you look at the per citizen figure. It’s only a little over $39,000.00. My 13 year old son was a little dismayed to hear this. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the sum of all of the goods and services produced in a single year. The ratio of national debt to GDP is over 85%. The yearly interest alone is nearing 50% of our yearly federal revenue. Think about this in terms of your personal finances. Let’s say you’re making $40,000 a year. You’re monthly pay is about $3,300. When you open your credit card statement you find that the interest this month alone is $1,666. Half of everything you earned gone just to pay the interest on what you owe. What would be your course of action in that situation? Just keep borrowing, and then go out and buy a new entertainment system? Ask the boss for a big raise. Or stop the spending and start paying down the debt? There’s only one thing that’s sure to work.

For many years I’ve been a proponent of putting the Congress on paid administrative leave. What we would do is meet them at the Capitol when they show up for the beginning of the session, swear in the new members, hand them their certificates, take the class pictures, hand them their paychecks and then send them home. They could go and do whatever they wanted for the rest of the session. Sell used cars or magazines door to door. Whatever. The object of the exercise is to get them out of the Capitol so that they can’t spend anymore of what the taxpayers don’t have any more of, and that’s money.

For years, the Congress has been involved in what can only be described as theft by deception and we, you and I, and all the rest of America, have been complicit. We watched as they took borrowed money from the treasury for projects that would make their constituents somewhere in another part of the country happy but we turned a blind eye because our own representatives got us a little something in return, with borrowed money again of course. And so it went in their little club of 535 souls, all working in a bipartisan manner to assure their re-elections and our nation’s eventual bankruptcy.

And so now it’s 2009 and the government induced collapse of the housing market and the subsequent collapse of the economy as a whole are met with what? More government intervention. First it was a $787 Billion “Stimulus Package” that had to be passed “RIGHT THIS MINUTE” or the world would come to an end. Not four weeks after the new President took office, two days after the 600 plus page bill was made available to Congress members and the general public the bill was approved (unread) by the House and Senate. The President promptly sat on it for three days before its signing.

In the midst of the economic turmoil that has become 2009 on the heels of their success with the stimulus came the “Cap and Trade” legislation gushing up in the House of Representatives like CO2 from a shaken hot soda. They passed it on a close vote (219 – 212). The Senate, heeding the Presidents own words that “my plan would necessarily cause utility rates to skyrocket”, and mindful that there are elections next fall, demurred, and has yet to take the legislation up.

And that brings us to the biggest, the most audacious, the most dangerous and the most expensive plan of all, and once again we’re being told that failure to act right now, at this moment, will lead to certain disaster. The plan is to re-form the entire health care system. One sixth of the entire economy. Not to fix what’s wrong with what we have, but to completely re-form it. The cost will be well over $1 Trillion and is paid for by accounting tricks and new taxes and fees. BUT, and this is a mighty big but. Democratic Senators, Representatives, and the President himself are still claiming that services will actually be better and costs lower. So here’s my plan: I propose an amendment to the bill that comes out of House / Senate conference committee that will allow the members of both houses, the President, his staff and cabinet the opportunity to do what the signers of the Declaration of Independence did, and that is to “pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” that this bill will universally increase the quality of health care services and lower their costs. If it does not it is my proposal that everyone previously listed be placed in a federal prison for a term equal to the number of years that they served in their respective positions and required to forfeit one years salary. This determination will be made not this year, or after the 2012 elections or the 2016, but in the year 2020. It’s time for our elected officials to be made to face the fact that when they make mistakes with huge amounts of our money bad things happen. We already know that they have no honor. Let’s see if they’re willing to put their lives and fortunes on the line.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tiger Woods

I’ve decided to write down a few thoughts about Tiger Woods. I know. I know. Blah blah blah. Everyone has stuff to say about Tiger Woods. Well, I’m not like everyone else. I don’t slow down when I pass a traffic accident...... but I DO try to catch a look as I drive by.

So. Tiger Woods. Womanizer? I don’t really like that term, and I don’t really know what it means anyway. What he is is a personable, good looking, famous, rich young man who likes the company of women. He’s a lot like me; except for I’m not nearly so rich, young or famous. He likes the way they look, they way they smell, the way they feel, the sound of their voices, and the way they react to the things HE says and does. AND he’s able to pay for those pleasures.

Why then, given that he was living in what seems to have been a bachelor’s paradise prior to 2004 did he marry Elin Nordegren? She surely fits the profile: white, blonde, very pretty, great figure........ but it doesn’t appear that she was a party girl which makes her a stand out in what now looks to be a crowd. Instead she was working as a nanny, or au pair if you prefer, for a married colleague of Tiger’s.

What we all have just been witness to may have simply been the result of five million years of evolution. On a subconscious level, way back in his lizard brain, Tiger Woods may have simply been selecting a mother for his children. And once the DNA is replicated.... then what? In most relationships (he said as if he knew of what he spoke) the passionate, unstable love of mutual discovery gradually gives way to the steady, secure love of mutual support. In this case that doesn’t seem to have happened. At least not for Tiger. Maybe he gets enough support from his “posse” that we hear so much about. Perhaps Tiger Woods is just an explorer, a man always on a quest for new challenges, a discoverer of love, Ricky Nelson’s “Travel’in Man” of golf.

Whatever the reasons, the deed(s) is(are) done. Elin Nordegren will move back to Sweden with her children. Tiger will not protest as this would make him look like even more of a clod than he already does and damage his brand even further, and as this may have been the subconscious intent all along. After a suitable period of “mourning” he will resume golfing and “dating”. He will be photographed (sans party girl) at cordial family outings with the children and his endorsements will gradually come back.

In the end (in a couple of years) this whole business will be just a sad chapter in the life of another sports personality that we’ve all read and are ready to forget.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I was recently on a road trip to Chicago and something that struck me is the number of SUVs on the highway, and the way they’re all starting to look the same. Essentially they all look as if manufacturers started with the perfect SUV and then started trying to make it look like something out of a kids Christmas Hot Wheels kit. The Perfect SUV, of course, was the Jeep Cherokee which was manufactured up until 2001 in pretty much its original form. But then things sort of went off track. First manufacturers made them look like they had actually taken a full sized “blow up” Cherokee and just over inflated it giving it a much rounder appearance. Then they gave them a more car like hood and front end, like true SUV people WANT to drive something that looks like a car. Next someone in the design division decided that SUV people shouldn’t have the advantage of all that superior visibility (why should they want to see what’s going on around them) so they pinched the top and back down and made the windows smaller. To make up for the loss in interior space they just made them wider increasing the weight and power requirements.

This brings up another issue that amazes me somewhat, and that’s “size creep”. We all need to realize, that it takes years of design and development work to bring a new vehicle to market and then to change them to fit market demands. It just strikes me as interesting that nearly ALL of the compact SUVs that have come to market seem to be growing. The models are introduced and then, after the Jeep example, a “Grand” version is marketed which is invariably larger. Size does seem to matter sometimes. First it was the Explorer, then the Expedition, and the EXCURSION which of course came standard with a built in cell phone with the numbers of numerous “on the road’ gasoline tanker services already programmed into the speed dial. Who knew that gasoline would go to four bucks a gallon? And along the way, as they were getting bigger, they were getting nicer, more comfortable and complicated. Heated leather seats, individual DVD players for passengers, moon roofs so that you could SEE the great outdoors without actually exposing yourself to it.

So what people are driving now in models from Acura to Kia are not Sport Utility Vehicles anymore. Gone is the sport (who’s gonna take their Acura out in the woods?). Gone is the Utility (Who’s gonna throw a sheet of ¾ inch AD plywood on top of their Mercedes?) What we’re left with is just a vehicle. A BTSW (big tall station wagon)...... with lousy visibility and poor fuel economy at that. May as well call it what it is.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

One Trillion

I have some problems with the health care reform legislation that is currently being debated in the Senate. The fact that it’s meant to move the nation closer to Socialism is primary I suppose, and that it is intentionally over 2000 pages in length in order to keep people from being able to know and understand what’s in it. I don’t like the fact that it was designed to tear down and completely restructure a system that, while flawed and in need of reform, at least fits the national culture. I don’t like the fact that the new system is now being put together as if by a committee of tailors, each with a different sense of style and ideas about what the garment should look like. There is no pattern or plan, and what should be undertaken with all caution and an eye on the future is being rushed in order to take advantage of the political moment. But as much as all my other problems, I am troubled at the cost: over one Trillion dollars. And that’s a conservative estimate that relies on a whole slough of assumptions all converging to the same point at the same time. If past experience with Medicare is any indication, the costs could be off by as much as a factor of ten. But however educated that guess, it’s still just a guess. What is not a guess is the one Trillion dollar number now in front of us. People have grown used to hearing the numbers: Millions (Lottery); Billions (Oprah, Gates, Buffett), but the only place you hear the term Trillions of dollars is when you talk about the US economy. I think people would be well served it they knew just how big a number one Trillion is. So to that end I have compiled a list of references just to put a Trillion in context.

We begin with a simple unit of measure that everyone can appreciate: the Dollar bill. You’ve seen it before. It has George Washington on the obverse (face side) and a big ONE, the pyramid and the eagle on the reverse (other side). It’s 6 inches long, 2-1/2 inches wide, and 43/10,000 of an inch thick.

One Trillion of anything is one million piles of one million each.

One Million one dollar bills weigh 2,202 pounds. One Trillion Dollars collected all together would weigh over two Billion pounds and take a fleet of 55,065 semi tractor trailers to haul it.

Laid end to end One Trillion Dollars would stretch 94,696,969 miles. This is a distance three million miles farther away than the sun. So far that it would take light 8-1/2 minutes to make the trip.

That distance 94,696,969 miles would take you from the Earth to the moon and back 198 times. You could travel around the Earth 3,809 times.

If you were to neatly stack One Trillion new bills, it would make a stack 67,866 miles high. Carefully lie it down and it would wrap the Earth 8-1/2 times.

If you wanted to cover some of the Earth, you certainly could. One Trillion Dollars would cover a square area 61 miles by 61 miles. 3,736 square miles.

You would have to flood a regulation NFL football field (excluding end zones) to a depth of 30 feet and 8 inches to accumulate One Trillion Drops.

And finally:

If one day you turned your kitchen faucet on full flow and then got distracted........ you could leave the house, go to college, complete your degree, date, marry, start a family, get divorced, date, re-marry, start another family, and 9-1/2 years later when you went back to your house, you would be there in plenty of time to shut off the water before One Trillion drops had gone down the drain.

I’ve composed this blog to try and illustrate the magnitude of one small piece (one trillion) of what I consider to be the main problem that our nation faces today, and that is runaway entitlement spending. Our legislators, for as long as I can remember, have pandered, wheeled and dealt, and greased the ways for their own political ambitions without regard for the future. Sometimes the spending has been done with the best of intentions, but still with no regard for the true affordability of the “project”. And now my son and daughter along with you and I, and your sons and daughters, as citizens, owe over $39,000 to the national debt. In a few years when they begin their working lives that number will suddenly jump to the $111,000 the each tax “payer” now owes. It saddens me to know that in 5 years no matter what we do this number will be much higher.

We are living in a remarkable time. Depending on your point of view, it may be either transformative or catastrophic. Whatever your politics I beg of you to please pay attention to the numbers, to know just how astronomical they are. When you hear that the Senate has a One Trillion Dollar bill under consideration or that they plan to extend the national debt ceiling by One Trillion Eight Hundred Billion Dollars (increasing our credit limit) I beg of you to think of the numbers and ask yourself “can we afford this?” Ask yourself: “do I have the right to obligate my children and their children, and theirs to a lifetime of debt repayment?”.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

They're Coming To Take Your Church Bells Away

So here we are, in the Christmas season again. Time for Santa Claus and lighted trees and nativities to spring up at court houses all over the country. ACLU lawyers are still able to sleep, but only fitfully and only for another week or so.

I can’t help but wonder how long will it be before a serious effort is made to outlaw, make illegal, or make socially unacceptable the ringing of church bells in America because it “might” make some very small minority feel uncomfortable, or because it irritates the joyless? And just how much of a stretch can that be, because unlike with radio where the signal travels unheard and unseen on the public airwaves, from the sound of a bell, there is, quite literally, no escape. One has no choice but to hear it. One cannot, as with a display at the courthouse, turn away, cross the street or chose not to look. One cannot choose not to hear a bell.

And what to do about the omnipresent, architecturally significant churches in some communities? Some cities have made it a point of pride, part of their civic identity. (More churches per capita than anywhere else in the US) (that would be Christian Churches)

So do Muslim, atheist, Hindu, or Shinto minorities have a reason to feel uncomfortable with this public display of religion? And if so, do they have a right to some sort of relief from this sonic persecution?

And if they require some redress, if they require that for their peace of mind our church bells are silenced, will we then require the same public silence of our religious neighbors. Will we require that they refrain from the singing of prayers from their minarets? How colorless, and without texture will we be required to make American culture before they are satisfied?

But that's just what an average guy thinks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What Road Are We On

Was up early this morning at the crack of dawn on the road to Chicago. Well, alright, it was more like the crack of 8:00 when we left the house. So we’re driving along, going South on I-94 East. Don’t ask. I really don’t understand it much myself. We drove under an overpass (never driven over and underpass) that was identified as Waukegan Road and suddenly I wondered if Waukegan Road actually went to Waukegan or near it or if it was just something that someone called a road that needed a name. You see this sort of thing a lot. A street or road name should tell you something about where you’re going. The name should make some sense to someone. Like the Old Chicago Road that appears in several places between Milwaukee and Chicago. It makes sense: a long time ago this was the road between Milwaukee and Chicago. It figures. A street name like Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee makes no sense. Even it ran all the way from the lake to Minnesota, it’s ALL in Wisconsin. Same thing with Michigan Avenue in Milwaukee. You CAN NOT drive from Milwaukee to Michigan on Michigan Avenue. You’d be crazy to try. There’s a lake. It’s deep in spots. The Kennedy Expressway in Chicago. Name tells you nothing. Doesn’t go anywhere NEAR a Kennedy, that much is certain.

Now you take the Egg and Butter Road East of Dodge City Kansas. It led out from the commercial center of the town into nearby farm country and farmers used it to transport eggs and butter to market. Every town has a Main Street. It’s the main street. The Bypass. Passes by the town if what you want is just to be on the other side. Fort Dodge Road goes from Dodge City to ........ Fort Dodge.

In Europe it’s totally different. You wouldn’t WANT for it to make sense. Take Italy for example. It’s well known, that all roads lead to Rome, and so if you were to name all the roads after where they went, why you’d have a lot of confusion. You’d have Rome Road, Rome Boulevard, Rome Avenue, Rome Lane, Rome Way, Rome Park Way, Rome Street, Rome Highway, Rome Strasse, Route de Roma, and of course the one exception: The Appian Way which of course was really the road from Brindisi to Rome. I suppose they could put a Rome Circle in as a bypass. But it’s no use trying to talk to them about it. I’ve tried. They just wind up gesticulating emphatically and finally zooming off on their Vespas in a cloud of dust.

But that’s what an average guy thinks.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament

The new sheriff strode into the street under the noon sun, his dark skin a stark contrast to his white hat. His opponent was already there waiting. They moved closer together and stopped at 20 paces. "It doesn't have to be like this Black Bart" the sheriff said, oblivious to the irony. "We can put aside the logic of fear, lay down our guns and talk about this like reasonable men". Black Bart's head turned almost imperceptibly and his eyes narrowed in calculation. The sheriff held out his hands and slowly drew the polished weapons from the holsters that he wore rather uncomfortably on his hips. He knelt down and placed them on the ground in front of him and stood again..... smiling reassuringly, arms again outstretched, hands empty, palms up in a gesture of trust. The whole town held it's breath as the seconds ticked slowly by. And when Black Bart visibly relaxed there was a sense of relief in the town. Perhaps the bitter rivalry and tense stand off between the two adversaries was finally over. And then Black Bart did something that no one seemed to expect: He drew his gun from its holster and stood there in the hot sun examining it as if seeing it for the first time. And then, slowly and deliberately he raised it to shoulder height, carefully sighted down the barrel and shot the new sheriff right between the eyes. (The End)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Catastrophic Tone

Sometimes the conversation turns a little away from the subject at hand and lands on the tone of that conversation. It’s an issue all to itself: the tone of civil discourse, and of course the lack of it. In truth, I wonder if effective civil discourse can actually have a civil tone. If everyone is calm, where is the real desire to get anything done or to keep anything from happening?

This year started out with the President and his democrat controlled Congress rolling out an 800 plus Billion dollar stimulus package that seemed to come out of nowhere. We were told that they wanted it, but not specifically what was in it, and that if it didn’t pass the results to the economy would be catastrophic. We saw the government take control of General Motors and then give a 37% interest to the labor unions (who arguably were more than a little responsible for its problems in the first place). Again we were told that the alternative would be catastrophic.

Then there’s HR 2454: The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Cap and Trade. The energy bill which the President freely admits will cause energy costs to skyrocket, but explains won’t cost consumers a dime because of taxes and fees that will be levied on energy suppliers and given back to the poor to pay their light bills. Again, failure to pass this legislation will be catastrophic to the world in general and then to the U.S...

Failure to do anything that this administration proposes is predicted to have catastrophic results. That brings me to HR 3200 (The American’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009). This bill was written by special interests groups and rolled out for an easy pre-recess passage, but somehow by the grace of God the discourse finally became uncivil. People started asking what the heck was in that 1000 page monstrosity, and no one could answer except to say that failure to pass it would result in (you guessed it) catastrophe. Legislators went home on recess and set about explaining why they were going to pass it even though they didn’t know what was in it and their constituents let them know in no uncertain terms that if they did they’d be looking for new jobs after their next election cycles. Make no mistake. Those lawmakers didn’t go to the town meetings looking for input, or for discussion. They went to lecture and inform as to what they planned to do. And people reciprocated and informed their representatives what THEY planned to do in return.

It seems that a lot of people (center and right) have begun to recognize that when the President tells them that it isn’t the details of the legislation that matter, but the spirit, what he really means is that the results are going to be catastrophic.

But that’s just what an Average guy thinks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tax Weasels

And so there she was, a nice looking middle aged woman sitting in what looked to be a lawyers office. You know, with floor to ceiling book shelves. And she’s saying “so and so and so and so reduced my tax bill from $43,000 down to $400 and they can do the same thing for you”. And I’m thinking WHAT? Essentially these lawyers helped this woman cheat the IRS out of $42,600 that she owed them. Damned IRS anyway.

But let’s break this down a little shall we? IRS is short (you gotta love it short) for the Internal Revenue Service (as if you didn’t know that) and it’s the part of the government responsible for collecting federal income taxes. And like it or not, we have to have some agency or mechanism for the collection of taxes. So. This woman got some lawyers to help her cheat (lets call it what it is) the IRS out of $42,600. So she got out of paying the federal government that money…… but the federal government had already spent that money (years ago as it turns out), and now the federal government has to collect that money AGAIN, only this time from someone else. And who do you suppose that might be hmmmmmm? I’ll tell you who! It’s YOU and ME. What the HELL is going on here? What it is is that lawyers are advertising how they can help you STEAL from your neighbors, because that’s what it is.

So the next time you see a law firm offering to help the citizenry weasel out of paying what they owe to the IRS just remember that what they are really doing is offering to help your neighbors pick YOUR pocket.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

On Presidential Failure

“How can you hope that the President fails?” we are asked. “If you want for the President to fail you want the nation to fail”. The answer to the question is simple: I simply don’t agree with him, and just because he’s been elected President in no way obligates me to accept his idea of what national policy should be. In fact, one could argue that because I disagree with him I am duty bound to oppose his efforts with my own. It is up to his supporters to try and make him successful. As for the nation failing if the President fails: That just isn’t true. The President isn’t the nation.

The President is the chief executive officer of the United States of America. The Congress makes the laws, the Supreme Court rules on their constitutionality and the President executes them. Of course the President is also the head of his or her political party and uses that influence to shape what sorts of laws get passed through the congress. In this way the President sets domestic policy and tries to steer the nation in one direction or another. But, since the President and I disagree on what sort of changes are necessary in our country I hope that he fails in his efforts. And not only that, because I disagree with him I have promised myself (in an effort at making myself feel less like a helpless onlooker) to oppose him whenever and with whatever means I have at my disposal. To openly and unashamedly try to bring about the failure of the President in his efforts to change our society in ways I think are unacceptable.

In addition to his role as chief executive officer of the country, the President is also the formulator of foreign policy, his job being to look out for and promote the interest of the United States in the world community. In this role, he is more or less on his own except for the Senate having confirmation rights as to who serves as Secretary of State and the responsibility to ratify or not to ratify any treaties that the President would like to enter into. One wants to believe that the President has the best interests of the citizenry in his heart, but as citizens we have much less input into foreign relations than we do domestic issues. This is as it should be. The President’s foreign policy successes and failures will be written by historians in glowing terms of peace and prosperity or in the blood of those who’s suffering and death were brought about by his inexperience and naiveté. And so, in his efforts to look out for the best interests of the United States, I hope the President succeeds, but I fear he will not. This is something about which the citizenry has little to say, and must simply wait for the next election.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fundamental Right to Health Care

Do we as citizens of the United States of America have a fundamental right to health care services? That is a large part of the discussion currently at hand. I would hold that we do not. Health care is (as implied) a service which can be purchased, or not. I have a right to purchase as much or as little as I can afford, or choose.

I also have the right to educate myself and to provide health care services to others. For providing these services, I have a right to expect compensation commensurate with my skills and the demand for those skills.

I also have the right to open a business to provide health care insurance. The simple explanation for this is that to my large pool of customers I agree to pay for certain health care services should they be needed. These would normally include needs resulting from accidents or the onset of disease. Out of my pool of customers, some will always be healthy, and never require these insured services and it is from monies paid by them that I will pay the agreed on expenses of my customers who are less fortunate. However, I must be careful not to charge too little for my promise to pay, and not to promise to pay too much in relation to what I charge. If either of these conditions exists, then I will not make a profit and my efforts and capital will be better and more productively spent in some other area of business.

As a consumer I have a right to expect that the health care services that I buy meet certain standards, and the government has licensing boards set up for that very purpose. I also have a right to expect that the companies that I buy my insurance from are treating me fairly, but this is not an industry that needs to be tightly regulated by the government. All the government need do in this case is to insure competition. To insure that I have the option to buy my insurance from whoever will sell me the services I want at the lowest price. That’s all. Competition (market forces) will then depress prices to the fair market value.

I also have the right as a citizen and consumer to expect that the civil justice system will protect me from the malpractice of incompetent healthcare providers. But I also have the right NOT to have my health care and insurance costs increased because of the practice of extremely defensive medicine, frivolous lawsuits and outrageous jury awards for pain and suffering fostered by trial lawyers who have nothing to lose by filing suit, and juries who believe insurance companies are bottomless wells of money. The government can be constructive here by setting reasonable standards for medical tests, limits on compensatory and punitive damages, and some disincentive to discourage the malpractice “lottery” industry.

The United States is a country that was built on self reliance and free market principles. If government run health care were as good as an idea in practice as it is on paper, people would be traveling to Canada, Great Britain and Cuba for services. We are also a nation with great compassion for our fellows and a desire to assist those less fortunate than ourselves. We need to make the relatively small regulatory changes to the health care and insurance systems we have in order to make them more consumer, and market friendly and then provide for the under served with any necessary tax credits and subsidies to make sure that no one goes without.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Say Anything

President Barack Obama is now in the “Say Anything” mode. It’s like he’s been caught with his uptown girl friend by his high school sweet heart baby momma. He loves his baby momma, but he knows he needs his up town girl, and so now he’s in the position of saying anything it takes to keep them both happy. The problem (of course) is the internet and cable news. He can’t whisper sweet assurances in either ear without it being overheard by the other. Now he must know what it’s like to be on with Jerry Springer, caught on stage there with his two girl friends, loving one, but only using the other. And all the time the audience shouting encouragement to the uptown girl, and jeering the baby momma. What’s a poor President to do?

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Want My Adjectives Back

Specifically I want the word “gay” returned. It was stolen from us and I want it back. The word was snatched by the homosexual community and changed into a noun …. Or something else just as queer.

Now when I was a young guy…. when I was a boy, there was queer…… which was just as an egregious wordnapping as the heinous abduction of “gay”. I didn’t really know what queer was, nor did I care. And I swear that’s the way it should have been….. and should still be. Queer was something that you were if you wore a pink shirt, or walked through the middle door at school, or wore pink and green on Thursday. We were a sophisticated lot. There was this knowledge that queer referred to homosexuality but what was that? Really? Blow jobs? Fudge pack’n? We really had no clue. And then it happened…… homosexuals started to take offence at being called homosexuals. And I guess they really didn’t like “homo” the short form, even though it conveys perfectly the situation.

But what if it had been “gleeful” instead of “gay”? We now would be saying something like….. “he’s gleeful” or he’s glee….. that’s SO glee, or he’s a member of the gleeful lesbian task force. We’d be talking about “glees” in the military. Or what about “happy go lucky”? We could call them HGLs. The HGL task force. Stupid you say? Well all right then…….


The word is accurate. It’s precise and it takes away the need to discriminate between males and females. When they give me my adjectives back, there will be no more lesbians. This may happen anyway, because there’s a group of people on the Greek island of Lesbos that are suing the “Greek Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece” because currently they are unable to identify themselves with their home island. 90,000 TRUE Lesbians who can not identify themselves as such. What do they say when asked where they’re from? So, Zorba…. Where you from? I’m a Lesbian. Yeah right, where you from? No really, I’m a Lesbian. It’s even worse for little Aalexis. How’s she EVER going to get a date?

So. All you HOMOs out there…… get over it, stop tap dancing (sorry) around it and give me my God damned adjectives back.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pulling The Plug On Grandma

I wish that Sarah Palin hadn’t used the term “Death Panels”. It’s got a nice loud attention getting ring to it, but it’s hard to back up. No one has written “death panel” into a health reform bill. Part of the problem as I see it is that no one knows WHAT the heck is in there. It’s a thousand pages that reads like stereo instructions. The bill as it came out of the House of Representatives wasn’t written by our representatives, but by their “advisors”, and it appears as though no single person has complete knowledge of the whole thing.

The “devil is in the details” we have all heard said, and since we can’t know the details of the 1000 + page monstrosity, let’s take a look at the circumstances. H. R. 3200, as it is known, was reported out of committee on July 30, just one week before the House of Representatives was to adjourn for the summer break. The intention of the majority party had been to have it approved, voted on, and signed into law before the summer recess. Thank goodness that didn’t happen, but what was the rush? It was said that it was “critical” to the economic recovery that the bill be passed. This was the same technique used for the $800 Billion stimulus package that has only been 10% spent at this writing. The economy shows signs of recovery, so why not take back about 75% of the total. That would save us $600 Billion right there. I know the real reason that there was such a rush to pass the legislation and so does everyone else who has raised kids through their teen years, or been a teen ager themselves. The reason is that the more the parents or the people with the money or the responsibility know about a request the less likely they are to agree to it. The President’s chief of staff, Rham Emanuel, has said that “you should never let a crisis go to waste”. That during a crisis “you can do things that you never thought you could do”. And so, during difficult times it behooves those in power to either generate a crisis, similar to the way Hugo Chavez does when he warns the people of Venezuela of an impending attack by U. S. forces, or you just shout “FIRE” at the top of your lungs and expect people to give you whatever you need to fight the “fire”.

What’s in a 1000 page bill? Most of us can’t know. We trust our legislators to know, but now it’s become evident that they don’t know, and that some if not many of them don’t care. We can know that they (the administration) have tried to rush this legislation through before it could be analyzed and we can know the philosophy of the President and his advisors. This we can know from their previous words. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to the President’s chief of staff Rham Emanuel and a healthcare advisor to the President wrote in an article published in the Hastings Center Report, “Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed.” Not guaranteed. Health services. So. Here are Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels”. Who decides what prevents an individual from “being or becoming participating citizens”. Who decides who lives or dies if it isn’t a “death panel”?

That’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Single Payer System

Lets us stipulate a couple of things up front: A) Even though it’s not perfect by a long shot, the health care system in the U. S. is perhaps the best in the world, attracting high profile cancer and cardiac patients from around the world. B) The health insurance sector needs some work.

All of this hubbub about health care is causing me a great deal of angst. Not because of the health part, or the insurance reform, but because of what’s being referred to as the “public option”. It should be referred to as the “government option”, because that’s what it is.

To start with, the administration led off with a huge economic stimulus package. It was CRITICAL that we act immediately to save ourselves from sliding into a DEPRESSION. Now about 10% of that $800B dollars has been spent and the economy (according to administration sources) has begun to show signs of recovery, but I don’t hear anyone saying that since the recovery has begun perhaps we should return 90% of the stimulus for a credit on our national credit card. Instead, we are being told that even though the recovery has begun, it is once again critical to the recovery that we adopt a sweeping overhaul of the entire health care system. Well, it’s critical alright, but only to the administration and its plans to socialize the health care system. I hate to use that word (socialize) but what else is it?

The President has said (in speeches over the last 5 or 6 years) that he favors what is called the “single payer system” “the public option’. That single payer is the federal government. He’s said it again and again, noting that it may not be wholly achievable at first, but incrementally over 10, 15, or 20 years. Top Democrat legislators seem to share his views. And the public option will mean “No Option At All”.

The President and his advisors are all adherents to Rham Emanuel’s edict of “Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste”. The economy’s in the toilet? Ram through a HUGE stimulus package that funds every pet project of every majority legislator, is only partially needed and may or may not do any good. Who’s going to oppose it? The economy’s still in the toilet? QUICK! Ram through a health care revolution before anyone has a chance to read it or even know what’s in it.

If this nonsense doesn’t stop, this is what will happen: The federal government will establish a program similar to Medicare or Medicaid…… Call it ObamaCare just for fun. It will be set up to provide “competition” to private insurance companies and to provide coverage for those that don’t have any. There’s argument about how many “AMERICANS” that actually is, but for sure it will be all of the 12 to 15 million aliens who are residing here illegally now. They can’t work here legally, penalties for companies and persons who aid them are high, but under ObamaCare they will receive the best that the rest of us taxpayers can offer. This is a subject for another time.

Initially, this won’t be that big a deal, but the feds have real deep pockets (as we know) and as time goes by, private companies won’t be able to compete. Take me as an example….. I’m in the job market, and I have to have $20/hr just to make ends meet. But old John across the street has a rich uncle (we can call him Sam) that makes his house payment for him and he only has to have $16/hr. Who’re they gonna hire? Forget that I’m better looking and better at what I do. They can get John for 25% less that what I need to survive…… John’s gett’n the gig and I’m gonna have to ….. go for retraining I guess, or put my house in foreclosure. And so the ObamaCare program will grow and grow and efforts to control it will be more useless every year because the voter base that’s enrolled in it will get bigger and bigger.

Eventually there won’t be any private health insurance and there will be a “single payer” system. When this happens only the very wealthy (self insured) will have access to the system that most of us take for granted now.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cash For Clunkers (I Don't Think So)

Cash for Clunkers? aka CARS, aka Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save. I don’t think so. I know. I know. “It’s a done deal, so what’s your beef ?” you’re asking. Well, the reason I’m spouting off is just to make a point that I think needs to be made, and that point is: WE’RE SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY FOR THINGS WE DON’T NEED AND CAN’T AFFORD !

As a matter of full disclosure, I must say that I have long held the belief that the smartest thing the public could do in regard to saving tax dollars would be to just send the Congress home when they show up in the fall. Not just this year, but EVERY year. We already have enough laws and we don’t HAVE any money to spend, so just meet them at the capitol steps, shake their hands, congratulate them on a great campaign, hand them the pay check and send them back to the various states. That would solve a lot if not all of our money problems.

Back to Cash for Clunkers: The original purpose of the legislation was simply to provide a stimulus for automobile dealers. (undoubtedly the authors have some acquaintances in their home districts) Only later were benefit to the economy and the environment mentioned. The House of Representatives approved $4 BILLION (that’s a 4 with nine zeroes behind it) and the Senate cut it down to $1 BILLION. The program went into effect in late July, and by early August was in danger of running out of money. BUT….. at the last minute, the Senate approved additional funding in the amount of $2 BILLION. For a total of THREE BILLION dollars.

This program has been touted as both an enormous success, and a huge boondoggle. Let’s just us take a look at the numbers. To start with, it’s a temporary program…. Or that’s how it seems….. I mean they only appropriated a limited amount of money. And now they think the funding will last through Labor Day. So to start things off they had to develop the computer software and hire staff to process 750,000 applications in a period of five weeks where none existed before. Okay. No problem. There’s a common belief that federal employees just sit on their fanny’s with not much productive work to do most of the time anyway. But what will these employees be doing in September after the funding for the program runs out? After tens of MILLIONS of dollars have been spent building the infrastructure to administer this program, what will become of it? It’s a valid

August car sales in 2007 were about 1.48M. Sales in 2008 were down to 1.25M. It’s reasonable to expect that due to the state of the economy in general, August 2009 sales would have dipped below 1M units. It will be interesting to see where the numbers turn up. Indications are that sales are a way up. Many dealers have been caught flat footed and don’t have the inventory of qualifying vehicles to meet the demand.

And, here it is the end of the model year. Many buyers wait till this time of year to buy a new care so they can take advantage of dealers wanting to clear “last years” inventory to make room for the new models (which ironically won’t be offered in this program). Car manufacturers know that this is a “one shot” deal, and so they may shuffle units around, but the program will have zero effect on production. Not one unit will be produced in response to this program.

Now let’s touch on the environmental aspects of the program. Some will say (half heartedly) that removing the gas guzzlers from the roads reduces pollution. And it’s hard to argue with that however, it’s a matter of degree. There are an estimated 250 Million cars on American highways. If 750,000 cars are sold under the Cash For Clunkers program, it will result in a replacement of 3/10ths of 1 percent (0.003) of the vehicles on the road which will result in an incalculably small reduction in any type of pollution you care to be concerned about. However, the new, fuel efficient car will have to be produced and THAT will “cost” more energy than keeping and using the old one.

To summarize: A lot (perhaps most) of the participants in the CARS program were going to buy a vehicle anyway. They got a $4,000 windfall. Those that were lured in by the promise of “free money”….. got a payment book. We constantly hear that Americans have overextended themselves. We’re living beyond our means. That we consume more than our share, more than we need….. and now the federal government is promoting a program that encourages families to borrow money to buy something that they really don’t need. So consumers don’t benefit (they had transportation before, but now they have transportation AND a payment) and the environment doesn’t benefit because the program is so miniscule, and manufacturing doesn’t benefit because the program only eats up existing inventory. The only beneficiaries are the car dealers….. which was the author’s original intention.

Let’s call it what it is. Some congressmen introduced some legislation to help their rich friends and it worked. Now we’ve paid 10s of BILLIONS of dollars to bail out the car manufactures, and now we’re paying BILLIONS more to bail out the car dealers.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who's Your Daddy ?

I think it’s time for all us rational human beings to sit down and take stock of how we name ourselves, and this idiotic bow to post modern gender sensitivity that is going to make it nearly impossible for genealogists in the future to trace family origins. I’m speaking of course of what I see as the ridiculous tendency of marrying couples to hyphenate their names. Actually, it isn’t the hyphenated couples themselves that present the problem it’s their little hyphenated spawn that I have a problem with.

Seems to me that John Lennon started all this nonsense when, in an act of contrition for being a man, and in so being having made woman “the nigger of the world” (which of course was a Lennon/Ono song before it was illegal to use the “N” word), he agreed to take Ono’s name when they married. Or maybe they were going to swap names. I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. But what happened is that it set off (along with the women’s liberation movement) a discussion about how unfair it is that a woman should take her husbands name when marrying. I mean after all, it’s a partnership right? Who can argue with that? Certainly not me. I couldn’t care less what a couple wants to call themselves. They can follow whatever tradition they like: matriarchal, patriarchal…. they can swap names, they can hyphenate, or they can be creative and make up new name for themselves. I don’t care. But what do you name the children?

Just for arguments sake, lets say that Man A marries Woman B and that she decides to hyphenate her name converting her to Woman A-B. Man A will keep his name because it’s already on his business cards and the title to his Trans Am. Now, when Man A hugs Woman A-B in special way, he’s overcome with a powerful feeling and ……. well, you know the rest. Next there’s a child who they call Child A-B.

As luck for Child A-B would have it, at about the same time Man C and Woman D meet on FaceBook, marry, hyphenate and procreate with the result being Child C-D. As a point of clarification, Child A-B is male (straight) and Child C-D is female (not sure).

They also meet on FaceBook, marry, hyphenate and procreate. Woman C-D converts to Woman A-B-C-D. And again, Man A-B retains his name because of the business cards and the car title. The resulting offspring is Child A-B-C-D. The next generation will be A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H, and the next A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P. The next generation will be out of alphabet and will start having to use subscripts.

You might say this is ridiculous, but this is exactly where it’s going and no one in our post modern touchy feely society has thought of it.

My position is that children should, for practical reasons, carry the name of their father. Actually, I don’t think I’d mind if it were their mother, if that’s the way everyone else did it. Libbers will claim that there have been and maybe ARE matriarchal societies and I would say, “fine, where are they”. They must not have been too damned successful, or that’s the way we’d be doing it. It’s hard to argue with five million years of evolution.

I can, with a few mouse clicks trace my father’s family to the Kingdom of Hanover in Germany, and my mothers to a 1647 landing at Plymouth. This, all because of Bill Gates and a unified system of genealogical identification.

Please America. Think twice before you saddle your children with a hyphen which could eventually do them more harm than that recessive gene for one blue eye and one brown that you’re carrying.

That’s what an average guy thinks.