Wednesday, January 31, 2007|
The terrorists may be winning...
The great City of Boston was nearly shutdown because of a few electronic devices that were being used in a marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting.
Interestingly enough, per Turner Broadcasting, these devices have been "in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia."
This story goes a long ways to showing you what is wrong with our Government and our society...
A company installs some mobile electronic billboards in TEN major US cities. They operate for 2-3 weeks with no problem...
Then one day, one concerned citizen calls the police and reports a suspicious "Package." This suspicious package displays a cartoon character...
The bomb squad decides it may be a bomb and blows it up...
Trains and highways are shut down, a hospital is evacuated, etc...
I was an Electronics Technician for six years in the USN. In the civilian world I spent about four years as an electrician in various factories and I am a Journeyman Electrician... I also spent four years as the maintenance manager at a factory... I have dealt with a wide variety of equipment in my life.
If someone called me and wanted me to investigate a "suspicious package" and I found a small electronic device that had electronic components and that displayed a picture of a cartoon character I would be able to figure out that the device was something other then a bomb...
Really, I could...
I guarantee it...
The ONLY thing that was done wrong as far as I can tell is the devices were installed on bridges and the like. This most likely violates local sign ordinances. Mounting these electronic billboards on a bridge is similar to spray painting graffiti or putting a political sign on a telephone pole...
Amazingly enough, the technician who installed the signs has been arrested. He most likely was arrested for violating the sign ordinance and mounting the devices on public property.
The Mayor of Boston and The Governor of Massachusetts both are saying that they may well sue Turner Broadcasting for damages...
People are too afraid of their own shadows. I am sick and tired of the "nanny government" and their desire to protect me from phantom threats... This is getting old.
What do you think?
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
What I will look for in a Presidential Candidate
Fortunately we will have an opportunity to have a President other then GW Bush.
Unfortunately we may well elect a President that is worse then GW Bush.
I vote for the candidate rather then for the Party. I do not care what the candidate's race or sex happens to be. For fun I will list how I would rate the last four elected Presidents by these standards. Here is what I will be looking for:
1. A person who has a background that I can respect. I tend to respect people who have
"worked" for a living.
HW Bush NO
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush NO
2. A person who has integrity.
HW Bush NO
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush NO
3. I often vote for military veterans for President; but, not always. I feel that our Commander
in Chief should have served in the military he or she now leads.
HW Bush YES
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush NO
4. A person who takes a stand and does not constantly run opinion polls to see what the voters
"think" about each particular stand.
HW Bush YES
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush YES
5. I look for a leader who has charisma and can motivate people.
HW Bush NO
Bill Clinton YES
GW Bush NO
6. I prefer a candidate who believes in smaller Government. A majority of Americans feel the
government is too large; yet, the Reps and Dems grow the size of the government each and
HW Bush NO
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush NO
7. I prefer a candidate who believes in the rights of the fifty states and who feels that the
Federal government is too large.
HW Bush NO
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush NO
8. I prefer a candidate who has not been part of ethical scandals. I tend to vote against
candidates who have "affairs," accept bribes, etc.
HW Bush YES
Bill Clinton NO
GW Bush NO
I will be looking at other things as well; however, I think these eight are a pretty good test for me. I am not a one issue voter by any stretch of the imagination.
As I look at the histories of the last four Presidents I would rank them by the eight criteria above best to worst:
Reagan (No-brainer for me)
Clinton and GW Bush
Note. If there were an election today between Bill Clinton and GW Bush, and I would certainly vote for a Third party candidate. If someone had a gun to my head and I had to vote for GW or Bill I would vote for Bill... It would hurt; however, I would vote for Bill...
Charlie Rangel: Behold America! The New China!
H. R. 393
To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Military and its backdoor draft
This article talks about the "backdoor draft" in America.
Robert Rouse has written about the "backdoor draft" as have I in the last couple of years.
I spent almost six years in the USN. When I signed up for the navy I signed up for a six year enlistment. I was in the naval nuclear power program which requires two years of schooling. Since the program provides two years of schooling navy "nukes" must sign up for six years when they join...
I actually got out of the USN about four and a half months early. I got out of the USN on March 1st, 1995. When I got out of the USN we were "downsizing" the navy. Once the Soviet Union fell we really, really needed to "downsize" our navy and we did "downsize" it over several years. Once of the main things the navy did was to decommission some of our older submarines. Our submarine fleet was very large when we had the Soviet Union as a foe. Once the Soviet Union fell it was obvious that we needed to get rid of submarines. When we got rid of submarines that enabled the USN to offer an "early out" program to many submariners. Me and most of my friends who were getting out got out of the USN early. All you had to do was submit a request, and if the request was approved by your command then the navy could discharge you as much as six months early.
The exact opposite is happening today and it is WRONG.
Today, the military (Mostly the army, the air force, and The National Guard) is holding people past the date they are supposed to be discharged from the military. Sometimes entire units are held and sometimes individuals are held past their enlistment. The military has held people over past their retirement as well.
This is wrong and it hurts the morale of our troops.
Republicans SHOULD be outraged about the "backdoor draft;" however, few are...
I am sick and tired of the "backdoor draft!"
Saturday, January 27, 2007|
Friday, January 26, 2007
This is big news because "hawks" are proud of it and those against the war are appalled by it.
I am shocked by it. Why haven't we been doing this for the last couple of years?
I do not think we should have gone into Iraq. I did not think invading Iraq was a good idea when we went into Iraq. I told my wife that we would have troops in Iraq for 20 years...
That being said, we did invade.
We do not have a time machine and we cannot change the past.
We either need to pull our OR WE NEED TO FIGHT TO WIN.
Do you remember back when Americans were hung from a bridge? If I would have been in charge I would have dropped leaflets on the town and given the residents 72 to hours to evacuate. Then I would have flattened the entire City.
We either need to get out or fight to win. One or the other.
I do NOT think we have the guts to win; therefore, I think we should start to draw down our troops and let the Iraqi government fend for itself. If they want their freedom they will have to fight for it just like Americans did when our County was founded.
Thursday, January 25, 2007|
Post-Smoking ban, what can we expect for encore?
Be warned, it does have a picture of both myself and Councilman Smith (and of course Kevin Leininger).
The piece does have one small error. I am no longer the Chair of the Allen County Party! I stepped down a couple of weeks ago and our new Chair is Jennifer Griggs!
Kevin Leninger sent me an email yesterday asking me for my take on the Smoking Ban. I was working on a tax return; however, during lunch I spent a few minutes and sent him a reply. I thought you might be interested in reading my entire reply. I sent him a few of the ideas that "The People's Republic of Fort Wayne" might consider with their big-government mentality.
My reply is below in italics.
Some tongue-in-cheek thoughts about our new smoking ban:
Per the actual wording of the ordinance enclosed areas AND City vehicles are affected by the smoking ordinance. All affected areas are required to have “No Smoking” signs posted at EACH entrance and posted throughout the area affected. Does this mean that each four-door vehicle the City owns will have FIVE “NO Smoking” signs on each vehicle? One for each door and then another in the interior of the vehicle should comply with the ordinance! Who ever said City Council was against small business owners? They certainly have passed a law that will greatly benefit EVERY sign company in Fort Wayne. Maybe this is Economic Development Fort Wayne style? Maybe Fort Wayne should put a new tax on all sign companies and then use this revenue to educate the public about the “evils” of smoking.
Maybe City Council should outlaw the sale of all tobacco products in Fort Wayne?
Since we have banned smoking maybe City Council will target obesity next? Should City Council:
Initiate daily morning exercise. I can just see our City Councilmen and our Mayor going to various Fort Wayne businesses and leading the employees in morning calisthenics… If this was done for our workers I would think it would also need to be done with those collecting unemployment and welfare as well. Maybe all City employees should be required to exercise for 30 minutes each day with their supervisors!
City Council may want to ensure that we eat healthy as well. Maybe they can tax all “Fast Food” restaurants and those foods our City “fathers” deem unhealthy?
City Council should set a good example for our citizens! I suggest they do calisthenics before each and every City Council meeting.
All-you-can-eat buffets may help cause Fort Wayne residents to eat too much food. Maybe City Council should outlaw all-you-can-eat buffets?
I have heard that “fried” foods are unhealthy. Maybe we should outlaw them in Fort Wayne?
Maybe our City Council should start each City Council meeting with a “health tip” for our citizens?
I have heard that it is unhealthy to eat in restaurants too often. Maybe City Council should issue “passes” to each citizen allowing each citizen to eat out 24 times per year? Better yet, City Council could tax these passes and then use that tax revenue to “inform” citizens about how to lead healthy lives.
Since public health is a concern of our elected officials maybe they should consider REQUIRING every citizen of Fort Wayne to get the
following each year to promote the “public health.”
2 visits to the dentist.
An annual checkup from the doctor. City Council could require more for children and elderly citizens or those with health problems.
If the citizen wears eye glasses maybe they should be required to see an “eye doctor” once a year.
Too many citizens are murdered each and every year in Fort Wayne. The majority are killed with firearms. Maybe Fort Wayne would be safer
If all firearms were outlawed in Fort Wayne?
Too many citizens are killed each year in car accidents. Maybe Fort Wayne should build a “mass transit” system for its citizens to protect them
from vehicular accidents?
We MUST protect our children. Maybe our City Council could force every school in Fort Wayne to measure the “body fat” of EVERY child enrolled in each Fort Wayne school (Wait, Indiana ALREADY requires this). If the child is deemed overweight the school could force each child to exercise each and every day. If this does not get the child to the “target weight” set by City Council they could fine the parents for putting their children at risk. If the fines are insufficient we could put the parents in the Allen County Lockup!
While we are protecting children maybe City Council should make it illegal to smoke in both automobiles AND private residences that contain Children. We must protect the children.
Vehicles are dangerous! Maybe Fort Wayne should require all citizens to have an actual driving test each and every year to keep their driver’s license!
It is unhealthy to sit on your couch and watch the television. We must stop people from this unhealthy behavior! Maybe Fort Wayne can force each citizen to install a device on their television set that will allow each television to operate no more then two hours each day.
I could go on with more stupid ideas all night...
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Star Trek clips set to Alice Coopers "YOU MAKE ME WANNA" from the "DIRTY DIAMONDS album
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
This is just a little too scary
Ahmadinejad: Be assured that the US and Israel will soon end lives
Yaakov Lappin Published: 01.23.07, 22:24
Israel and the United States will soon be destroyed, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday during a meeting with Syria's foreign minister, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website said in a report.
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives," the Iranian president was quoted as saying.
"Sparking discord among Muslims, especially between the Shiites and Sunnis, is a plot hatched by the Zionists and the US for dominating regional nations and looting their resources," Ahmadinejad added, according to the report.
The Iranian president also directly tied events in Lebanon to a wider plan aimed at Israel's destruction. He called on "regional countries" to "support the Islamic resistance of the Lebanese people and strive to enhance solidarity and unity among the different Palestinian groups in a bid to pave the ground for the undermining of the Zionist regime whose demise is, of course, imminent."
Ahmadinejad has threatened the State of Israel with annihilation several times in recent months, and has recently added the US and Britain to the list of countries he says will be destroyed.
Syria's Foreign Minister, Wailed Mualem, accused the US of attempting to carry out a "massacre of Muslims" and of sowing "discord among Islamic faiths in the region."
Mualem called on "regional states to pave the ground for the establishment of peace and tranquillity… while preventing further genocide of the Muslims," the IRIB website said.
Fort Wayne and its brand new smoking ban
I got it today...
I would like to thank Don for directing the City Clerk to send me a copy. When I called the City Clerk they told me I would have to drive downtown and get it myself...
I guess that may be someone's idea of Downtown development? Make taxpayers drive downtown to read silly new laws they are forced to comply with?
Enough of that...
Now to the smoking ban.
As you all know I oppose this. It is a property rights issue for me. I think that each business owner should determine their own policy...
This smoking ban excludes smoking in all public places and in ALL places that have employees except:
1. Private residences that are NOT licensed child care, adult day care, or a health care facility.
2. Motels and hotels may allow smoking in up to 20% of their rooms.
3. Private or semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long term care facilities that are occupied by one or more persons, all of whom are smokers and have requested in WRITING to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted, provided that smoke from these rooms does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under provisions of this chapter.
Some things to keep in mind:
1. The ordinance DOES apply to all vehicles owned by the City!
2. Please read #3 above CAREFULLY about nursing homes. This could EASILY be interpreted to mean that the smoking rooms need their own ventilation system.
3. Smoking is not allowed within 20 feet of an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. This distance is 200 feet from a governmental building and from the property line of a campus hospital that has prohibited smoking.
1. All areas where smoking is prohibited by this ordinance must have "no smoking" signs. This means that every City vehicle will now be required to have a "no smoking" sign! Every entrance must have a sign and signs must be in each area... The sign industry must be ECSTATIC.
Enforcement is really egregious:
1. Check this out. "Enforcement of this subchapter shall be implemented by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department, the City Fire Department, the City Police Department, and all other city and county governmental agencies responsible for building inspections, which boards and/or departments shall certify in writing that any establishment being inspected is complying with the terms of the subchapter."
2. Check this out. "ANY citizen who desires to register a complaint under this subchapter may initiate enforcement by calling the City Fire Department. If the Fire Department is not involved in other higher priority activities, someone will be dispatched to issue a citation to the offending party."
This is a disaster for the City Fire Department...
Will the Fire Department install a smoking violation hotline?
How many new employees will the Fire Department have to hire?
1. A business entity who does not post the necessary signs at each entrance, does not post the necessary signs throughout his or her establishment, or who leaves ash trays in his establishment will be fined up to $2500 per day.
2. A person who smokes (Except in restaurants, see 3 below) will be fined up to $25 the first time, up to $100 the second time, and up to $250 for each additional violation.
3. A person who smokes in a restaurant can be fined up to $2500.Big government is in Fort Wayne to stay.
Democrats and Republicans officials both stand for more Government regulations...
Jury Duty Scam
Most of us take summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced. Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS. In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen!!
The scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois , and Colorado . This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they're with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.
Check it out here:>
Monday, January 22, 2007
New poll about Fort Wayne citizens and their opinions about building a new baseball stadium Downtown
Check out the results of the poll:
Question two is the most important in my humble opinion: Do you believe a downtown baseball stadium should be built, or not?
Refused/don’t know 14%
Question ten is almost equally important: As proposed, Wizards’ owners would pay $5 million of the cost for a $30 million new stadium. Is that too much for the owners to pay, too little, or about right?
Too much 3%
Too little 67%
About right 30%
Polls have to be taken with "a grain of salt." They are often inaccurate and I do not put a lot of faith in them.
I talk to a lot of people in Fort Wayne. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a strong majority of Fort Wayne citizens oppose building a new baseball stadium downtown.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
So. . .if you have an extra $500 come June. . .
"Nervous" Vurn and Munchie
Their new site is up and running at www.nervousvurnandmunchie.com. I would like to invite everyone over to take a look at the site and I'm including a video sampler of their show right here. Unfortunately the video is from a static camera from the comedy club where they were appearing.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
In defense of a colleague
But yet, to read the paper, you'd think he was Huey Long or something.
Background for people who missed it:
Paul is a city planner and a parent of two young children. Paul was appointed, as was I, to the Yellow Ribbon Task Force which is supposed to figure out how to fix our aging school buildings while not bankrupting our property tax base.
Paul is very passionate about our public schools. We need more people like him involved in local government - smart, reasonable people who listen to all sides of a situation. Last year he started a political action committee to raise money for school board candidates; some of the contributors to this PAC were construction companies. This was entirely legal, by the way, and is very common. (Remember, all FWCS construction projects are publicly and openly bid, so please do not think that if Construction Company X gives money to a school board candidate that there is even a realistic opportunity for that company to be given any special treatment.)
Back to the issue: the Task Force and the public have all had a lot of sticker shock when we saw the cost options. And sticker shock, like most surprises, tends to generate anger, and anger tends to generate the desire to blame someone. This must be someone's fault! Blame previous school boards! Blame previous superintendents! Blame current FWCS administration! Blame parents, teachers, or students for bad test scores!
It's a natural response, I think. But let's not let this get in the way of figuring out the best, most responsible way to move forward. And the sad fact is, when most of your 53 buildings are 30-40 years old, you've got a lot of basic infrastructure that needs to be replaced - if not today, then you need to be planning to do so over the next few years. And on top of that the way schools were built 40 years ago doesn't necessarily meet the educational needs of kids today (special ed and computers being 2 examples.) I applaud Wendy Robinson for recognizing that this is not a "one building at a time" situation - it requires a long term plan, and that is what is being developed.
So back to Paul. He was drafted by the other Task Force members to be our chair. He didn't seek this out. He views his role as directing the process, not directing the conclusion. Paul is running this as a very open group where everyone's opinions are sought out and heard.
It may be tempting to decide that we should blame Paul here - that somehow, if Paul hadn't been active in the democratic process, that our northern Indiana climate wouldn't require us to fix roofs. We might like to blame Paul rather than recognize that schools in the 21st century have different building needs than they did in the mid-20th. It might make us feel better to believe that Paul is the problem here and tell him he has to resign from the task force.
Just for the sake of argument, let us summarize the results of this approach:
1. We kick a passionate, articulate, honest, open person out of local civic life.
2. We show other similar people that as soon as they say something we don't want to hear, then we will similarly kick them around and out.
3. We still have to figure out what to do about our schools.
If I didn't know Paul personally, I might not be writing this post. But then shame on me, because this really isn't about Paul, it is about how we as a community deal with our problems.
Don't like the numbers? I don't either. So punch a pillow or sing along REALLY LOUD with Tom Petty (personally, I find the latter to be more effective than the former) and then let's return to addressing the issue at hand. And that issue is schools - it's not my friend Paul Spoelhof.
Friday, January 19, 2007
OMG how the hell did they do that? I just had to post this.
I did a little investigating, and found a couple of stories that basically say that Best Buy is making a push to buck the old "customer is always right" mentality.
The first whiff of this I got was from WSJ's article Analyzing Customers, Best Buy Decides Not All Are Welcome
However, the best analysis (and some peeks at the "subscriber only" WSJ content) comes from www.arstechnica.com and Ken "Caesar" Fisher. The article is entitled Best Buy hopes to exorcize devil patrons.
In an age where it seems like everyone casts their nets as wide as possible
to bring in more eyes, feet, and wallets, Best Buy is doing the opposite. They
believe that a small portion of their customers are bad for business, and
they're looking to shut them out.
The article goes on to describe a Best Buy approved method of profiling or pigeon-holing retail consumers in their stores, lumping them into four categories.
Store clerks receive hours of training in identifying desirable customers
according to their shopping preferences and behavior. High-income men, referred
to internally as Barrys, tend to be enthusiasts of action movies and cameras.
Suburban moms, called Jills, are busy but usually willing to talk about helping
their families. Male technology enthusiasts, nicknamed Buzzes, are early
adopters, interested in buying and showing off the latest gadgets.
Best Buy's strategies could represent the beginnings of a shift in how
retailers approach their customers. As consumers become more savvy, and online
shopping continues to grow, you can bet other retailers will watch Best Buy
closely. Early results indicate that Best Buy's test stores are outperforming
their established stores by a significant margin, and it's safe to assume that
the trend will continue as they shift to their new sales mode across the board.
Of course, if you aren't Barry, Jill, or Buzz, then who are you and how will you
be treated? Customer profiling has a nasty side to it, one which we can attest
to. It's common, for instance, to be utterly ignored in some commission-based
sales environments if you look too young, or too poor.
There you have it, your answer...Mrs. Rouse. It was not a sub-par day for customer service, it's a new retailing mechanism. I'm not planning on spending another dime with them...how about you?
Now, just to pander to the whole "fairness doctrine" crowd (which is total crap, I might add), I figured I should post THIS LINK to put a stick in Circuit City's eye too. See, fairness abounds!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
They are at it again...
This will require some explanation.
In the old days (Around 1958) those people who bought houses had to make a down payment of 20% or more to purchase a house. It is the way things were done. Banks were very careful about who they loaned money to.
In the late fifties and early sixties this started to change. The Private Mortgage Insurance industry got started. This industry sold a product (PMI) that allowed purchasers to buy a house with less then 20% down as long as they were willing to pay an insurance payment in addition to their normal mortgage payment. This allowed more and more people to buy homes since they did not have to come up with a 20% down payment.
When PMI was created it was intended to be temporary. Once you had 20% equity in your house the PMI would go away...
In the mid to late nineties it was discovered that as many as one in five Americans were paying PMI on homes that had over 20% equity. In fact, in many case, purchasers were paying PMI for thirty years.
This was outright theft and should have been prosecuted as a criminal action in my opinion.
In 1998 Congress stepped in and strengthened the rules and made it much less likely that purchasers would have to pay PMI for an inordinate amount of time from then on. Congress did actually pass a law that did IMPROVE the system.
Really, they did. I am not kidding, Congress passed a good law that IMPROVED a bad situation.
That is a brief history of PMI. Note the average home purchaser who pays PMI pays about $750 per year in PMI payments...
An industry has popped up in the last few years that sells "piggyback" loans. For example maybe you have a 80-10-10 loan. This would mean that you purchase a house, finance the first 80% of the purchase price in a first mortgage, pay 10% on a second mortgage, and put 10% down. This would allow you to buy a house and NOT pay PMI. The main disadvantage of this type of loan is the 2nd loan (10%) is at a higher interest rate then the first loan.
The PMI industry does NOT like "piggyback" loans because they require fewer people to purchase PMI...
The PMI industry and the "piggyback" loan industry are in direct competition with each other.
The PMI industry has successfully lobbied Congress and got Congress to expand the tax code to benefit the PMI industry. I absolutely hate it when our elected officials pass laws that favor one industry over another for NO REASON.
On December 9th Congress passed another law that needlessly expands the tax code and makes it even more complicated. The bill passed on December 9th, 2006 is large and complicated, I am just talking about one small part of this bill.
This bill will make PMI tax deductible (Just like mortgage interest) for certain people. This will hurt the "piggyback" industry and will help the PMI industry.
This change will only affect a small percentage of homeowners... It will only effect you if all of the following apply to you:
1. You either purchase or re-finance a home in 2007.
2. You pay PMI in 2007.
3. You itemize your deductions on your tax return.
If all of the above apply to you then this tax law change will benefit you on your 2007 taxes.
For example lets say you purchase a house on January 2nd 2007. You buy a house and pay $750 in PMI during 2007. You itemize your deductions. Lets say for this example that you are in the 25% income bracket. This would save you $187.50 on your 2007 taxes.
The PMI industry is hoping that more people will structure their loans with PMI since they can write it off on their taxes. This should expand the PMI business due to new home sales and re-financing of existing loans.
This will shrink the "piggyback" loan industry.
And this will make the tax code even more complicated and ineffective.
When preparing tax returns next year I will have to look at the mortgage statements that my clients give me. I will have to hope that they list PMI on the statement (NOT all do). If the mortgage involves PMI then I will have to determine when the home was purchased or re-financed.
What are they thinking?
Does ANYONE think that this is a good law?
Everyone should read this and pass it on
Is it all true? Factual? Distored? Lies? I don't know. I am not showing this because I agree or disagree with the story. I am showing this to get opinions about what is fact, what is fiction, what matters and what really doesn't matter regarding Obama and this email. Besides, I wouldn't doubt that you have already seen this, or will be seeing this in your inbox soon:
Everyone should read this and pass it on.
Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nya ngoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii.
When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.
Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school. Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education.
Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obamas mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Osama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
Let us all remain alert concerning Obama expected presidential candidacy.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Dead Man Popping
They have the old zombie - who really doesn't even sound like Orville - listening to an i-Pod. Whoopee! Who gives a rat's a$$? I found the whole thing a little creepy when I finally got to see it on-line.
Orville's grandson, Gary - who appeared in some commercials with his grandpa in the early '90s - doesn't seem to have a problem with it. He told USA Today, "Grandpa would go for it. He was a cutting-edge guy. This is a way to honor his legacy".
Okay, Gary, but this self-avowed popcorn addict has lost a little of his appetite for the Zea mays everta.
Not quite bobbleheads, but....
Over the past year I have attempted to pitch the Giant Bobblehead idea, where you could sponsor your own nearly-life-sized bobblehead statue decorated as any person you wanted, but it never seemed to catch on. Although I initially thought of it as a joke, it does seem like it has nearly infinite possibilities. Think about it: real people, historical figures, fictional characters, "types".....and that doesn't even include the "if you don't donate a bunch of money to the sponsoring charity we will make a bobblehead that looks like YOU" option. You know, bobblehead "protection" like in the Godfather. An offer you can't refuse, etc. And admit it - you can't really look at a bobblehead without smiling (or at least smirking). Imagine how much fun they'd be 5 foot high.
But, since the Bobblehead idea apparently isn't going anywhere, I am glad that someone is picking up the slack with another public art project. The mastodons were such a success; I hope that the shoes are, too.
Why does high fructose corn syrup have to be in everything?
The simple answer is: It doesn't.
Of course the culprit for the presence of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in all sweetened foods in the U.S. is the state. The mechanism is the incredibly high tariff on sugar produced in other countries. The U.S. government would rather force manufacturers to use inferior and hazardous high fructose corn syrup, which can be created from corn – a crop grown in the U.S. – than allow them to use more natural sugar from places that seem rather obvious. I don’t know about you, but when I think of sugar, I think of sugar cane in South America, but when the USDA thinks of sugar, apparently they think of cornfields in Nebraska!
Of course! Why the hell not? The government creates problems with and for every single thing it touches...so why is this so far fetched?
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Long time listener, first time blogger
At some point I hope to come up with something brilliant or insightful to say, but for now I am just testing this to see how it works. Sorry to waste your time reading it, and I appreciate your indulgence.
Monday, January 15, 2007
The segue we were
Natural segues have been around since the beginning of notationed music, but it wasn't until the Beatles that they were produced into rock recordings. Deejays from 1967 started taking flack from disgruntled listeners when they would break apart the song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" from the follow-up of "With a Little Help From My Friends". The same went for the "Sgt. Pepper's reprise" and "A Day In the Life". They were meant to go together.
In today's mp3 world, CD Ripping software and song stores such as i-Tunes need to make this distinction, but alas, they do not. If i-Tunes is going to sell Beatles music, this needs to be addressed. A vast majority of side two of "Abbey Road" is a medley of shorter songs joined together to create a mini suite of music. Editor's note: For all you whipper snappers out there, a "side two" of an album comes from the days when LP records were sold and music was pressed into both sides of the disc.
It is not just the Beatles music that needs to be protected, one cannot listen to Bob Seger's "Travelin' Man" without expecting to hear "Beautiful Loser". How about Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker"/"Livin' Lovin' Maid" duo? The problem with purchasing the songs separately and putting them together later has everything to do with timing. We know how much of a millisecond there is between cuts that follow each other, and in some cases - especially when it comes to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, etc. the segues are actually musical instead of a quick break.
So, if you're a music purists like me and want to listen to "Jesus Just Left Chicago" right after hearing Billy Gibbons sing "Waitin' For the Bus", do yourself a favor and buy the CD. When I rip a CD to put on my i-Pod, I make sure to rip "Back in the USSR" and "Dear Prudence" as a single song instead of two. It's only right.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Oprah’s Dream Come True
According to news reports, the lavish opening boasted attendance by many celebrities, such as Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Chris Rock, Mary J Blige and Nelson Mandela, who each donated a signed book to the school’s library. I wonder; if I had donated a signed book to the school’s library, would I have been invited to the ribbon cutting? I doubt it. No one is interested in plain old “Citizen Jane” being in attendance. Least of all, Oprah. Besides, I couldn’t have afforded to dress for the event. Photos taken at the grand opening show Oprah dressed in a fancy pink dress with diamond drop earrings that could probably have fed the families of the 152 students for years.
Hence we come to my problem with the whole “Dream Come True”. Why does Oprah have to shout her good works from the rooftops??? Why isn’t she humble in her good deeds, like the Missouri man who just died this week that had been donating money anonymously to needy people and causes for years? Why not wear a demure suit and understated jewelry to the opening instead of clothing and earrings that cost more than the families of these girls make in a lifetime? In my opinion, she is shouting, “Look at me! Look what I’ve done! Praise me! Thank me! Love me!”
So there it is: Oprah’s need for love and approval has overstepped the bounds of good taste.
I stopped watching Oprah’s show and buying her magazine long ago, when it seemed obvious to me that her self- promotion was becoming obscene. I don’t think of it as obscene anymore. Now it’s just sad.
Friday, January 12, 2007
A Spammer's Revenge
By Reynolds Holding TIME Magazine
Imagine that a message plops unbidden into your e-mail In box. Imagine that 10 just like it soon follow, all with a fake return address, none from a name you recognize. You take umbrage. You let it be known on your website that the sender is a scurrilous spammer, a clogger of In boxes, a violator of the right to privacy. It is a small gesture yet one you believe is important in the war on spam, and besides, it makes you feel good.
Until, of course, you get sued.
With pornography, sleazy offers and other unsolicited junk filling In boxes at record rates, revenge has blossomed into a righteous cause. But as Mark Mumma, an Internet-services provider and antispam crusader from Oklahoma City, Okla., will tell you, spats over spam can get messy. The recipient's privacy comes into play, but so does the sender's free speech. What states call spam the feds may consider innocuous commercial e-mail. And when spam rage takes over, you, like Mumma, can get sued for calling a spammer a spammer.
Mumma's problems began two years ago with a simple e-mail message: How about a relaxing cruise? Labeled an "E-deal," it came from a nonworking address and included bogus information in its header, the section that says where an e-mail has been. Mumma got the message, the e-deal falsely claimed, because he had asked for it.
Unfortunately for the sender, Mumma was an Internet pro. Since 1997 he had hosted Web pages, run e-mail services and maintained an antispam website that listed hundreds of addresses whose owners did not want unsolicited mail. He knew Oklahoma and federal law generally banned e-mails that lied about their origin or their paths through the Internet, and he wasn't shy about using the law to make a point. The text of the offending e-deal revealed that it had come from Cruise.com a subsidiary of Omega World Travel in Fairfax, Va. Mumma called Omega's general counsel, the curiously named John Lawless, and got him to promise that neither Mumma nor any of the addresses listed on Mumma's website would receive more mail.
But on the very next day, a second e-deal arrived. This time Mumma threatened to sue Omega for $150,000 under antispam laws unless it agreed to settle for $6,250, an arbitrary amount that Mumma considered reasonable. Omega refused to pay, and before it removed Mumma from the Cruise.com mailing list, nine more e-deals landed in his box. Then things got ugly.
Mumma posted photos of the company's founders on his website and called them Cruise.com spammers." They sued Mumma in Virginia federal court for besmirching their reputations, and he countersued for violations under state and federal antispam laws. Much to Mumma's shock, the trial judge dismissed his suit, ruling that the e-deals weren't misleading enough to be spam. In November the U.S. court of appeals in Richmond agreed. But the founders' case survived, and as it heads for trial before the federal district in Virginia, Mumma faces the possibility of owing $3.8 million in damages for speaking his mind.
And you wondered why spam was so hard to stop.
Truth be told, companies like Omega aren't the real problem. Sure, Cruise.com sent Mumma unsolicited e-mails with a funky return address. And it sent 11 of them. But Mumma might have stopped future messages by clicking on a highlighted link, something he refused to do because, he says, "that just gets you on more spam lists." Maybe so. It's clear, though, that unlike some Nigerian scam artist bent on fooling e-mail filters, the company didn't try to hide its identity.
Still, dramatic increases in spam reported by Ironport and other e-mail-- security firms show that antispam activists like Mumma are overmatched, and the law is not helping. Since Nevada adopted the nation's first antispam statute in 1997, 37 other states have provided the legal basis for dinging spammers that send misleading e-mails. But in 2003 the feds trumped most of those laws by enacting a statutory mouthful, the Controlling the Assault of Non- Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.
As its unfortunate acronym suggests, the CAN-SPAM Act did not so much prohibit spamming as show companies how to do it. That's because Congress bungled an attempt to balance two constitutional interests: a privacy right (freedom from unwanted e-mails) and a free-speech right (freedom to send advertising--a type of speech--by e-mail). Instead of guarding privacy by allowing commercial e-mail only when people asked for it, Congress favored the speech rights of e-mailers: consumers bear the burden of telling spammers to stop. Congress also said e-mail couldn't be "materially" misleading about its source, but other than that, spam away.
It was the word "materially" that tripped up Mumma. The appeals court ruled that bogus return addresses and header information didn't make e-deals "materially" misleading; after all, Mumma was able to track down the messages' source. The court's decision further weakens privacy in favor of free speech--at least for spammers. For their critics, the message is harsher: keep your mouth shut, or you could get sued.
Minimum Wage Increase
All Democrats in the House voted for the increase and so did EIGHTY TWO Republicans. 116 Republicans voted against the increase. It is depressing to me the so many Republicans voted in favor of this increase... They truly are another large government Party... I have been telling you that for years...
This post is not meant to start a discussion about whether increasing the minimum wage is good or bad. There are currently six contributors to this blog and I am pretty sure that we think the following:
Raising the Federal Minimum wage is good: Robert Rouse, Sheri Rouse, Jeff Pruitt, and Stan Matuska
Raising the Federal Minimum wage is bad: Mike Sylvester and Andrew Kaduk.
As most of you know I am against a Federal minimum wage at all. I think each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and all US Territories should set their own rates; that being said, I do not think raising the minimum wage will destroy our economy like some "right wingers" think. I think it will hurt some industries and raise some prices. I also do not think it will help as many people as some "left wingers" think... I think it will help some people; however, most people will not be helped by this increase. Some people will lose their jobs after this increase...
There is no doubt in my mind that the Federal Minimum wage will be increased...
There has been a lot of media attention about the fact that The Federal minimum wage was not implemented in the American Territory of American Somoa; however, it was implemented for the Northern Marianas Islands.
First of all there are 14 US Territories. I have been to three of them...
Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, and Navassa Islands are all uninhabited.
Palmyra Atol is privately owned and is used as a vacation home.
Kingman Reef and Midway Islands do not have indigenous populations and each has a small government facility on them belonging to the military and US Fish and Wildlife respectively.
Johnson Atoll does not have an indigenous population. It has a weapons disposal facility and I have a couple of friends who work there...
Wake Island does not have an indigenous population and is the home of a couple hundred contractors...
All nine of the above US Territories are either uninhabited or have small, highly skilled and highly paid employees. We do not need to worry about The Federal minimum wage in any of them.
The last five all have indigenous populations:
American Somoa has about 58,000 inhabitants and has not been covered by the Federal minimum wage in the past. Minimum wages are set by industry and range from $2.63-$4.09. The new law passed by Democrats excludes American Somoa just like was done in the past.
The Northern Marianas Islands have a population of about 82,000. These islands have in the past been exempt from the Federal minimum wage; however this new legislation will make the Northern Marianas Islands have to comply with the Federal minimum wage.
Guam has a population of about 171,000 The Federal minimum wage applies to Guam.
The Virgin Islands have a population of 108,605. They have a minimum wage higher then the Federal minimum wage.
Puerto Rico has a population of almost 4 million. The Federal minimum wage applies to Puerto Rico.
The new Federal minimum wage will apply to all of the US territories EXCEPT American Somoa, it will apply to all fifty states, and it will apply to the District of Columbia...
I think that the Democrats made a mistake with this bill.
They keep saying that they want to increase the minimum wage for everyone and then exempt one US Territory while applying it to one US Territory that has been exempted in the past.
From all accounts The Northern Marianas Islands are rife with corruption and working conditions are horrendous. Several key Republicans got a "black eye" for their ties to the Northern Marianas and they SHOULD have gotten a black eye.
The Northern Marianas has one major industry, the garment industry. Much of the garment industry has moved to China and Asia. I think it is very likely that applying the minimum wage to The Northern Marianas may damage their garment industry and put the islands into even more poverty, we will see.
American Somoa is similar in that it has one major industry as well, the tuna industry. Two large multi-national companies are in American Somoa and make a lot of money off of their plants in American Samoa where they pay their workers about $3.60 an hour.
There are accusations flying that Nancy Pelosi caved in to pressure from Starkist (A major tuna company headquartered in her Congressional District) to exempt American Somoa from the minimum wage. I do not know if these accusations are true; however, The Democrats made a definite mistake.
Why on earth would they exempt one Territory and include another?
I plan on watching the economies of these two US Territories in the next couple of years. I would guess that the Northern Marianas are going to pay a dear price for the minimum wage increase and I imagine that American Somoa is going to do just fine since they were exempted...
Does anyone think The Democrats were smart by excluding one US Territory and applying it another very similar US Terriotry that used to be exempt?
I'm finding the variety of post themes especially encouraging. Tax tips, obits, humor, frustration, slices of life all, make for interesting read throughs.
Stan and I have been talking, and if we get a couple more bloggers to sign on in the next few days, we'll raise the limit of posts each day up to six (total).
Invite others, promote the site on other blogs. and help continue this exchange of information and ideas.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
What ever happened to . . .
Which brings us to tonight. We got a call that a camera I took in from repair was not able to be repaired and they would replace it with a comparable model. Trying to get the department to do that was another matter. I was given flack and I asked to speak with a manager. The "Customer Experience Manager" came over and began giving me information that I knew was incorrect. I asked him to show me in the paperwork where it said that, and he refused. To make a very long story short he called me a child, stuck his tongue out and walked away from me. I was calm yet quietly assertive. Trust me, I wanted to rip his heart out of his ribcage, but I was nice until the tongue came out. You simply catch more flies with honey when you really want something. I was not asking for anything more than I was owed by the service agreement that I purchased. I deserved none of his nastiness. I returned to get the paperwork I needed from the "tech guys" and one of them came around the counter and called the guy a "prick". My daughter informed him that "That man was mean to my mommy!"
How does someone like this get a job in that part of the store hierarchy? Shouldn't you possess some ability to handle issues and solve problems and make customers feel as though you truly care about their business. The sad part is that he said he had been there for 7 years. Wow, they need some better training in that area. Fortunately, I traveled across town to the other store, received fabulous service, didn't have to fight for what I was owed and went home happy and smiling with a brand new camera.
I wonder what ever happened to putting the customer needs and desires first. What happened to providing a loyal customer with positive service that meets their needs and causes them to return. It's unfortunate that that portion of our society has disappeared.
ANOTHER Congressional mistake
They consistently attacked the "do nothing" Congress of 2006. They were right to do so. In 2006 the Congress was in session for the least number of hours in decades.
The Democrats blasted this over and over.
In the middle of their "first 100 hours" pledge what did the Democrats decide to to?
They took Monday off so members could watch a college football game...
Good grief. This is 100% absurd.
Read the full story here:
Does anyone reading this think the Democrats SHOULD have taken Monday off to watch a college football game?
Behind the Scenes Look at President Bush's Rejection of the Iraq Study Group
Now granted the author is Sidney Blumenthal - an advisor to President Clinton - but the story is fascinating nonetheless.
A must read...
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Hey, Crawford, Looky here!
I do wish to note the difference here, and it should be noted...Pelosi is banning smoking from publicly owned property, not privately owned businesses and places. It's pretty sad that some so-called Republicans cannot make the same distinction.
If you had to choose
If you haven't heard what's going on, then you probably have been living in a cave or under a rock, and should just go to the next story. I'm not going to give more credence to the story by posting their nasty comments or quips and links to such banter. As much as I think this whole thing is stupid, I find myself wanting to know what each side has to say about the other! Go figure!
If you had to choose, who would you side with, Donald Trump or Rosie O'Donnel? I won't give you any help by telling who I side with, but I will do so tomorrow in the comment section.
Tax season is here
Tax season has begun and I have not had a lot of time for blogs (or anything else!)
I have to BRIEFLY discuss one of the best things about the tax code this year and one of the dumbest things our politicians have done.
Lets start with the good.
If you live in Indiana and if you contribute to the Indiana 529 plan in 2007 you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $1000 on your taxes NEXT year.
Per the Indiana Education Savings Authority:
The CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan, governed by the Indiana Education Savings Authority (IESA) and administered by JP Morgan Funds Management, Inc., allows Hoosiers to plan for their children's or loved one's future, making contributions into an investment account for higher education expenses. And recently, Indiana enacted a new tax credit that makes the CollegeChoice Plan and even better option.
Qualified withdrawals from a CollegeChoice 529 Plan account are already state and federal tax-exempt. And, during the last legislative session, Indiana Treasurer of State and IESA Chair Tim Berry successfully lobbied for House Bill 1029, which creates a 20% tax credit up to $1,000 on Hoosiers' contributions to their CollegeChoice accounts.
The credit takes effect January 1, 2007 .
Every state offers some form of 529 college savings plan, but Indiana residents are eligible for their 20% tax credit only with an Indiana CollegeChoice account. CollegeChoice accounts can be used to pay for expenses at any accredited college, university, and many vocational training programs, in Indiana or worldwide.
Additionally, Indiana residents can enroll in the plan's Age-Based investment option free of any sales commissions and authority fee. For more information about the CollegeChoice Plan, visit the web site at collegechoiceplan.com or call toll free 866-400-PLAN.
This is pretty cool. The "Indiana plan" is not one of the better plans available in my humble opinion; however, there is currently not a rule in place preventing you from contributing to the Indiana plan and then "rolling" it into a better plan.
Tax credits are good...
The bad thing is extremely typically of our government and is extremely frustrating.
Since 1898 the government has been collecting an excise tax on long distance phone usage. This tax was used to help fund the Spanish-American war and was intended to be a luxury tax... Times have changed and the telephone is no longer a luxury item.
Several groups have challenged the tax over the years and the IRS lost several court cases; however in their infinite wisdom, they kept collecting the tax. Last year the IRS finally decided to stop fighting and they stopped forcing the telephone companies to collect the tax. They also "decided" to refund the last few years of the tax to taxpayers. This is where the fun begins...
If you are an individual taxpayer (Not a business or a not-for-profit) this tax credit will be easy for you to receive. If you file your taxes and have one exemption you will get a tax credit of $30. If you have a family of four you will max out and get a credit of $60.
If you are a business they are making it much harder; in fact, if you are a small business it may be easier to ignore the credit then to file for it. To file for it as a business you will have to spend a lot of time gathering information and either calculating the exact tax you paid or estimating it. Either method will require you to look at 41 old phone bills. This is government in action...
This has been very frustrating. The IRS could not decide on the method they would use until very recently. Most tax software packages are not finalized because they were waiting on the IRS...
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
20 Years Ago Today
As a low buzzing sound belched from thousands of televisions throughout Chicago, the intruder's image swayed and wiggled in front of a slowly rotating background. Half a minute later, as suddenly as it had appeared, the strange scene was gone. As Chicago's televisions reverted back to the world of the ordinary, the visibly flustered sports reporter reappeared, and commented, "Well, if you're wondering what happened… so am I."
"He's a freaky nerd!"
"This guy's better than Chuck Swirsky." (a WGN -TV sportscaster at the time)
"Catch the wave." (a reference to the New Coke marketing slogan)
"Your love is fading."
(hums the theme song to the 1959 TV series "Clutch Cargo")
"I stole CBS."
"Oh, I just made a giant masterpiece printed all over the greatest world newspaper nerds."
"My brother is wearing the other one."
"They're coming to get me!"READ THE REST OF THE STORY...or do you remember this happening?
Roh No! Iwao Takamoto dies at 81.
In his lengthy six-decade career, Takamoto helped design some of Disney and Hanna-Barbera'so biggest animated features and television shows, including "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Lady and the Tramp," "101 Dalmatians," "The Jetsons" and "The Flintstones."
But it was his creation of Scooby-Doo, the cowardly dog with an adventurous heart, that captivated audiences and has endured for generations. Indeed, Scooby was my favorite cartoon when I was a child, and is my daughter's favorite today.
Takamoto said he created Scooby-Doo after talking with a Great Dane breeder and named him after Frank Sinatra 's final phrase in "Strangers in the Night."
The breeder "showed me some pictures and talked about the important points of a Great Dane, like a straight back, straight legs, small chin and such," Takamoto said in a recent talk at Cartoon Network Studios. So, of course, "I decided to go the opposite and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, big chin and such. Even his color is wrong."
Takamoto was also the talent behind famous cartoon dogs such as Astro from "The Jetsons" and Muttley, the mixed-breed that appeared in several Hanna-Barbera animations. He directed the 1973 feature "Charlotte's Web",as well.
The animator was born in Los Angeles to Japanese immigrants, and had just graduated high school when World War II began. He and his family were sent to the Manzanar internment camp in the California desert, where he learned the art of illustration from fellow internees. This instruction served him well. Upon his return to LA, he landed an interview with Walt Disney Studios and was hired as an apprentice. Takamoto worked with Disney's famous "nine old men" team of animators before moving to Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1961. There he worked on cartoons for television, including "Josie and the Pussy Cats," "The Great Grape Ape Show," "Harlem Globe Trotters" and "The Secret Squirrel Show."
Monday, January 08, 2007
Politics from a senior citizen’s perspective
I decided I was going to talk with them about politics and the Iraq war. There are usually around 12 – 15 residents in the discussion group, so I thought I could get some interesting viewpoints.
When I arrived today there were only 6 residents – all female. There was a recent flu epidemic at the nursing home, so the group was much smaller than normal. I told them what I planned on talking about to see if they were at all interested. I really wanted a larger audience, but decided to continue anyway.
I usually don’t talk politics or religion with the group. Surprisingly, they all agreed with my topic. I then told them I wanted to take notes for a blog. Yes, I said “blog” to a group of senior citizens!!! After explaining in great detail, and in a loud voice, what a “blog” is, I still didn’t think they had a clue, but at least they were interested in what I was doing.
So even though the group was very small, and there were no men in the group, I decided to do what I had originally intended to do. As I said, there were 6 women. Their ages ranged from 82 to 96. Here is how they responded to my questions.
Q: How many of you voted in the last election?
A: 3. They all voted from the nursing home.
Q: Of the 3 who did not vote, why didn’t you vote?
A: Couldn’t decide, not interested, don’t know
Q: If you want to say, and you don’t have to say, what party do you support?
A: 2 Democrat, 2 Republican, 2 declined
Q: What would be the most important issue to you in an election?
A: A person who helps all classes of people, someone with a big family because they understand most issues.
Q: Is America ready for a female President?
A: 1 Yes, 5 No – People believe men more than women, There are some very intelligent women, but they would have to prove themselves. Women are too emotional. Some countries look down on women, especially women in power.
Q: In your lifetime, who do you think has been the best President?
A: 2 Roosevelt, 1 Kennedy, 1 Eisenhower, 2 didn’t have an answer
Q: Are any of you members of AARP?
A: 1 Yes, 5 No – Of the 5, none have ever been members
Q: Do you think we should send more troops to Iraq?
A: 6 No, 0 Yes
Q: What are your thoughts on the war in Iraq?
A: It’s taking too long; the politicians are going to benefit from this; we need the troops in case we do get in trouble; fight your own battle and we’ll get out of it; I just wonder why in the world we are even over there.
All replies (A:) are direct quotes based upon my notes. I am not really sure what I have learned with this report, but I was very surprised to know that senior citizens are very outspoken about the war in Iraq, and vote in larger numbers than I thought.
Note: The image shown is not from the nursing home I visit. It is an image I captured on the web. I would never show the faces or share the names of the residents without permission from the nursing home.
A nation of nitwits: Part 1
From the website Overheard in New York:
Middle-aged Long Island lady thumbing through magazine: Look, there's Stephen Colbert.
Husband: Who's that?
Middle-aged Long Island lady: He's a terrific Republican reporter on TV. You should watch him. He's really great. Puts the liberals in their place.
This is just a comical example of a deeply rooted problem in the U.S., and the problem is that our society has become (collectively) dumber than a box full of lamb fries. Each day we are presented with example after shining example of groups of people making stupid decisions that individuals - perhaps even the same individuals who are in the groups - wouldn't make. Over the years this has been coined "mob mentality," but I've always found that to refer most often to actual mobs, like the ones that chased Frankenstein's Monster with the torches and pitchforks.
What about groups of people who are not "mobs" in the classic sense, they are not necessarily in the same physical proximity? What about groups of people who may share common backgrounds, futures or misunderstandings? Take for example a massive segment of the American Public to which I refer as the "Consumorons." These people will buy whatever you try to sell them, as long as you can provide them with some tidbits of customer testimonial propaganda for them to interpret as gospel.
Make millions of dollars placing tiny little ads....
When is a weight loss pill worth $153 per bottle?....
HOT STOCK TIP! I selected your email address specifically...
Disney Vacations for $1!!!...
This dazzling ring is genuine cubic zirconium!....
Need cash? Refinance your home!....
Drowning in debt? Bankruptcy never hurt anyone!...
CREDIT REPAIR: $400 per week for 6 months and we'll clear up your credit report...
Send money and Jesus will perform a miracle on this woman!...
Consult your doctor to see if the Psychotropic Drug du jour is right for you!
Got a runny nose? Call the law offices of James Sokolove, we might be able to sue somebody on your behalf!...
Smilin' Bob and his massive unit eat handfulls of these pills a day! You can too!
The list goes on and on (and on). For every sucker, there is a five hour line at their front door to sell them something. I hear much screaming and yelling at various levels of government that indicate there is a need for more education - more money dumped into education - better standardized test scores - nicer facilities etc. Unfortunately, no where is there offered a class for middle-schoolers that details to the young folks how to be better consumers. No one is there to explain to young people how to objectively analyze some of this retail flotsam and jetsam, and ultimately, how to avoid it. I have come up with a theory as to why.
My theory falls along the same lines as The Emperor's New Clothes. Who is willing to openly admit that they have been duped? How could one go about compiling this information into a usable format, that it might be properly conveyed in an educational way to the naive consumers of tomorrow?
First off, we must first convince more than just a handful of anonymous emailers that it is good to 'fess up when you've been had. Mind you, this may be a difficult task. How many people would be willing to say "yeah, I've always been self conscious about the size of my junk, so I gave Smilin' Bob a call, ate those Enzyte pills for 30 days, and, well, let's just say I haven't yet begun to turn heads in the sauna." Any? Most people wouldn't admit to calling that 800 number in the first place. Admitting that you got screwed by a marketing gimmick (and you're still hung like a hampster), now that's demoralizing. So really, how can we pass along common sense in an educational setting? Is it possible?
Many would conclude that we must somehow rely on parents to convey these life-lessons to their kids. Unfortunately, these "parents" are some of the same people who still think that withdrawal is a legitimate form of contraception, or as illustrated above, think Steven Colbert is an actual Republican. How can a parent, in good conscience, look at their kids across a table full of Publishers' Clearing House entry forms, Columbia House stamps, Amway fingernail clippers, Kirby-Vacuumed carpets, HerbaLife supplements...how can the parents be expected to teach their kids what they haven't yet learned themselves?
I do not wish anyone to misunderstand my point here (if indeed it turns out that I actually do have one). I have no gripes about teaching kids math, science, history, English, economics, civics, or really anything....basketweaving, auto mechanics, homemaking et al. However, our so-called standardized testing in the U.S. doesn't even come close to addressing actual stupidity. This is evident by the droves of people funding the massive junk-business industry. Have you seen weight loss signs on little wooden sticks by busy intersections? Some sucker had to put those there. Chances are good they probably even had to pay for them. Does anyone call them? Would people put them there if consumers didn't call those numbers?
There's only so much that raw education can do for a person. We sit with our noses pointed toward the glowing brain-death machines and unquestioningly absorb whatever BS is fed to us. Does anyone out there have any concept of how many Americans are actually concerned with Kevin Federline and his daily goings-on? Would it surprise anyone to learn that I don't even know what the guy looks like? I don't....seriously. I can't even bring myself to Google a picture of him. Unfortunately, the next generation of Americans, poised on the edge of the work force, actually know who K-Fed is, and they have a particular affinity for him and the grotesque, gluttonous lifestyle he stands for. Not that I fret about what people do with their time, how they want to dress, how useless they wish to be...really I couldn't care less. However, these buffoons are causing the rest of us to have our rights and liberties curtailed in immeasurable, shameful ways. This will be the focus of my writing on this blog for the forseeable future.
Next chapter: The Princess Diana Phenomenon/Sideshow.