Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh, Please Make It Stop

Dear Mr. President,
It is me again, still not a czar, still a lot pissed about that, but certainly the urine generated about my not getting one of those positions diminishes a little each day as the mental bladder fills with the notions of all the incredibly dumb stuff that is going on. All at once. And believe me, sir, unlike some of the whack jobs out there who are convinced it is all your fault, I know a little better, but , hey, it’s considerable easier writing to you than writing to my federal electeds who don’t care or to my state electeds who can’t read or are too busy trying to make some real estate deal or busy making a law to pay state cops seventy-five bucks an hour to sit off duty guarding paving crews while catching up on their paper-work, reading some crime novel, or catching a nap. Hey, but that’s stimulating and free market, too, I think, because local cops can jump in and do it for less, I think. But, heck, that’s not why I am writing today; I am not real upset about the cops; that story is just a little black jack upside the head compared to bludgeoning we are taking from some of the others out there, in a manner of speaking of course.

Take for example the clunk on the head that I got when I read the news about what’s going on in the financial industry that my friends and I have helped out of a fix. Only a month ago, Morgan Stanley (and that is not a NASCAR driver, sir, or a tool maker but a big deal of a bank, market consultant, gambler) announced it was squirreling away 72 percent of its revenue for salaries, bonuses, and benefits. I guess they laid off so many people that they didn’t need and dumped all those folks health, dental, and vision insurances that they just had too much left over just to save and all. So, for doing such a swell job, the head-cheeses (now, sir, that isn’t the same thing as a cheese-head) have given themselves a great big pat in the wallet, if you catch my drift. And so it went with most the rest of the Wall Street companies popping out some ginormous bucks to the top-canines. And here’s the double irony, sir, these bonuses and what-not are performance bonuses; these dudes got more money than Midas because their performances went up because we stimulated them. Sure, some or most got their lucre in the form of stocks which they can’t sell for a while but if we keep stimulating, those stocks will most likely go up making a paltry couple million may be ten or so millions. Now, of course I am a selfish sort; can’t I get some sort of stimulation other than the one that feels like it is in my backside every time I read about someone getting a big fat bonus for a bad company or a really big fat bonus for doing nothing but taking in some poor slobs' taxes. And here’s the triple irony: Mr. President, you want to put teachers on merit pay. I suppose you will dump the dumb students and make sure teachers only get the bright kids so that they are assured of merit pay. Of course, you might want to suggest to those mental giants up on the Hill, that the households with all the really bright kids will get pants' deductions because the seats of all those smart kids’ pants will get worn right off in that they will be changing rooms every five minutes, all day long. Now you can see the real meaning of No Child Left Behind, or right behind, if you catch my drift, sir. But I digress which is a bad habit with which I constantly struggle. To get back on track: I thought you were going to investigate all that conniving, double dealing, skunk spraying, robbing and stealing that was going on on Wall Street. Just as an aside, Mr. President: when I start to use the real tiny four-letter words, I am real pissed off. FYI, sir, FYI. Oh, yes before I leave this topic, I do find it interesting that the financial services industry paid bonuses of 18.4 billion in 2008. Did I miss something when I heard we were in near depression, was it a rumor about pay caps at half a million a year, and another rumor about CEOs and CFOs, And DOGs not being able to “circumvent” pay caps by getting huge stock bonuses? But then again a metric ton of that money finds its way right on up to the Hill where so many are constantly pounding their fists about too much government regulation. Oh, well, anyways here’s an interesting quote from the Wall Street Journal from the pen of Kevin Drum, "Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the U.S. In the five years ending in 2007, earnings for American workers rose 24%, half the 48% gain for the top-paid. The result: The top-paid represent 33% of the total, up from 28% in 2002." Damn, in bad times, too.

President Obama, my head hurts just from all the figuring and cogitating I have done trying to fathom all this , but I got to admit, there are just too many damned zeros here for my mental abacus to handle. But what I can compute is this: at an average of 50 K a year for teaching as many as 150 students a day, your average teacher has got to work 20 years to make what some of these birds who got bailed out make in half a week. Of course, my math ain’t real good as I only got up to goesintas in my math education, but that was my lacking for mathematical apprehension, sir, and not the fault of my teachers.

Sir, I am all typed and thought out for today, and I really wanted to get into Madoff, Stanford, Blackwater, but I just can’t. But please, don't give federal employees Jill-squat for a raise, get out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, solve the immigrant problem, the tax problem, the health problem, the flu problem, the sleeping-and-texting-folks-who-are-guarding-our-bridges problems, the Republican problem, the Texas problem. Better hurry up too, sir, the problems appear to be multiplying faster than happy hamsters.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Spurned Czar Speaks Out : Dumps Spleen on President

Dear President Obama,
Since you did not reply to my last letter which you will remember as being an application for a Czar-job, I am going to assume that I am not going to get one. Because all my references were a bit checkered should not disqualify me for the job; Republicans have less savory references, I will bet anything. And I thought all this crisis stuff was supposed to be about helping to redistribute wealth, and I definitely could use a shift in my direction. Furthermore, Mr. President, since I didn’t get the job, I might as well get to bitching and complaining, and moaning and groaning like the rest of the country. After all, you are the head cheese thusly I can gripe to you about stuff that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

First of all, about the homosexuals in the armed service: I would call them gays but somehow since you backed out of your pledge to bring them out of the latrine so to speak, I doubt they are having much fun. I have no idea what percent of the military is homosexual, or of the country for that matter, but I do find it queer that you won’t do anything about the silly don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy that runs the coop now. That is a pretty sorry piece of thinking and certainly a great opportunity for people to be extorted, picked-on, and outright discriminated against. So, sir, that thinking has got to go as far as I am concerned. I believe that if people want to sign up to get their asses shot off in some Muslim-ass country, they out to be able to openly declare what position they want to take when they head for the bed, so to speak. Most of the conservatives like Governor Sanford want everything to be on the up and up, by the Bible, and good strong man and woman marriages and all. But there ain’t but so many folks in this country who really care enough about wiping out the terrorists, or we would have a national draft to go get them. After all, Vietnam never fired anything at us, and we sent-wasn’t half a million at one point to make sure Communism didn’t kick dominoes over. Please free the homo-folks so they can at least say what they are while serving as armed members of our country. But that isn’t my highest concern to complain about.

What’s up with the greening of America? That “cash for clunkers” deal sure moved along some cars, and it had a nifty name, alliteration, punch, brevity. But, Mr., President, wasn’t that really a sell out to your principles? I mean didn’t we just reward the folks who bought a sloppy old gas guzzling behemoth they didn’t need in the first place. If you don’t know about that come and hang out with me and watch all the 4 x 4 monster pickups fly by, ninety-nine percent of which have never had a tool in them or hauled a load of junk to the landfill. So, what did we improve by helping an owner of a clunker (owunker) buy a car that gets only 2-3 more miles per gallon? What happened to having some guts and making the reward for the clunker contingent on say a 10 mpg improvement and more money for a 15 mpg improvement, and so on up the line? Am I missing something when I wonder just how much we are better off if we gave some dude with an Escalade getting 12 mpg 4500 dollars to trade up to an Explorer getting 15 mpg? Were we just helping the car companies, that are left, unload all the junk they should have had better sense than build in the first place? After all, sir, don’t we own or are in charge of everyone but Ford? So why didn’t we set the limits rather than the auto boys and the banks? But come to think of it, the couple of times I bought a new car I never did know just how bad I was getting it, only that I was. And while I am on a roll, let me groan a tad about another environmental topic, the electrical grid system in this country. Is it true that some wind companies have to stop whirling because the grid is so antiquated it will not accept the power generated? If that is so and if we are not holding the power companies responsible for updating their own equipment, then shame on you. Or do we own the equipment? I get so confused with all the regulations and laws, all I know is that you politicians have found, and I suppose will always find a way to make whatever we need the most, as expensive as you can possibly make it, without causing an insurrection, which of course is illegal. If you want to support solar or wind energy, it won’t do any good because the grid can’t handle it? And doesn't that put the calabash on the idea of wind and solar companies as being the places for new jobs? Would it be a good idea to have one of your czars to look into how to put people to work rebuilding, redesigning, and remodeling the grid? The power companies won’t do it as they have known for years that sooner or later the government would have to come in and get it done. That is a shame because all the folks running the power companies are born again conservatives who want the government out of their business but are waiting for some write-offs or tax credits or subsidies from the federal or state governments to pay for a grid-upgrade that should have been part of their expense of operations all along. Ain’t that what you call a conundrum, President Obama? And speaking of conundrums can you please get the damned ethanol out of my gas? I don’t mind a farmer making some “extry” money, so to speak, but good grief is this a good way for the country go, other than farmers, of course? Doesn’t it take 3 gallons of gasoline to make one gallon of ethanol, doesn’t ethanol have to be moved by rail or truck because it is so corrosive to the conventional pipes for moving gasoline around the country, isn’t it hydrostatic or whatever so that creates its own water while it sits in your tank, hasn’t it driven the price of corn so high that corn flakes, chicken, and beef, not to mention Good and Plenty candy,are no long affordable for some folks, or am I silly for thinking that in the middle of an economic crisis we are using a product that is making everyone’s grocery bill quite a bit higher? I did catch Senator Grassley saying something about making ethanol from corn cobs, but I would just as soon that you tell Mr. Grassley what he can use the corn cob for when he comes by to help you out on the health deal.

Well, you can guess what you are in for, Mr. President, for not hooking me up with that job. There is so much to bitch about that I can’t do it in one simple letter. As I have said before, I wouldn’t have your job for all the kisses in Hershey; you can’t win in a nation where most think that you actually make laws, where your own party is about as idiotic as the other one, and where the other one won’t do a thing that might make you look good whether it was for the good of the nation or not. And now you got me lambasting you, unless of course you reconsider on the job thingy.
Wait until I hit you up about the miserable, low-life, skunk-faced health insurance industry, the weasel-faced bankers, and ferret-faced financiers. You’ll wish I had been given two federal jobs. But then,given a federal job, come to think of it, I would become a nut about having to pay taxes. Conundrum after conundrum after . . .