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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Good Golly, Miss Molly

It is dang near 2011 and time for me, whilst it is blizzarding, to make a list of “jazzgunk” in this country that I would like to see changed but know very well will not be. The mere declaring of these ideas will drive my conservo/republio/righto/leaning buddies crazy; hence, and with glee, I put them in print:

1. Let’s nationalize all the mineral wealth above and below the ground in this country. Let Exxon and the rest suffer through getting paid a fair profit for pulling it out, the black and yellow gold, the gas, the silver, the uranium, all of it- fish too as far as I am concerned. They can live through the decline of their stock; I don’t own any and don’t care a whit. We will still need it; they will still have to drill for it, but since the market for all those goodies is no longer controlled by supply and demand but by hedge-funding and war efforts, let’s go all the way into socialism, use only our own stuff, fuck the A-Rabs and Russians,and become self-sufficient.

2. Let’s get out of the national education business with all the ridiculous testing and monitoring and turn the job over to states. Let them figure out how to make do with 20 percent less; maybe they will fire a bunch of superintendent and supervisors or better yet put them back in classrooms where they will actually have to do a day’s work. States might also have to quit the ridiculous practice of indexing the salary for principals and sub-administrators and return to paying them scale for 12 months instead of scale times 1.45 times 12 and STILL letting them take off 30 days a year in holidays. And while I am at it, drop sports, too, make it pay as you go, reduce the number of games and travel, NO sports during exams and state testing. Unless a school has a student to teacher ratio of 15 or less, no sports come out of the tax dollar. And don’t give me a lot of shit about how this will keep your kid from getting a scholarship: if junior can throw a baseball 90 miles an hour, run a forty in 4.4 seconds, or if she can bucket 30 percent of her jump shots from 30 feet out, scouts will find him or her, trust me; they will be lined up in your driveways. And while I am still on this topic, get off the teachers’ backs and backsides about test-performance. Until you testing-tyrants can figure out a way to legislate parental responsibility, just fucking quit with all the teacher-slamming. Most teachers could do a great job if their cowardly-assed principals would have the balls to make kids shut the fuck up while they are in school. We do not need a national No Child Left Behind program; we need a National We WILL Leave You Behind if You Don’t Shut the Fuck Up program (SHTFUP). Am I pretty clear on what I think would make schools work again?

3. Get the hell out of foreign countries, period. Or if we go put in place a We-Are-in-Bumfuck Egypt-tax on every person over 40 years of age who ought to know better than squander good American money blowing up a bunch of people who never bothered us in the first place. We got enough spy crap, video-gamed-drones, special ops, CIA, and NSA operatives to go whack the really wildassed jack-offs who want to do us harm, and I AM all for blowing them up. We could probably invent a Pay to Whack Initiative without involving our own people anyway. With the global economy what it is, there are plenty of folks who would gladly go shoot somebody somewhere if the price is right. Plus, we could market the operations as reality shows and take the proceeds to offset some more debt. WATCH TONIGHT from the SAFETY of YOUR HOME as a Nigerian Force WHACKS an ENTIRE VILLAGE of TALIBAN (49.95 on C-SPAN Pay Per View). Think of all the money we waste in Pakistan while those miserable, corrupt sonsabitches still support the people we are trying to kill in Afghanistan. That’s just stupid. But, we can do a TV show where our mercenaries from Somalia are filmed entering a Pakistani village and blowing the absolute-shit out of it. There’s money to be made, jobs to be created, a growth industry to be promoted, yes indeedy.

4. Just quit fighting progressive thinking and intellectual planning: this country put billions into educating the masses just like Tom Jefferson envisioned; so, quit already with slamming people who bought into it and got an education. Newt ain’t right, Barrack ain’t right; Glenn ain’t right; Nancy ain’t got a clue; Sarah is stoopid. You are right: George, Lefty, Big George, Pat, Sheila, Kim and Ryne; all of whom I am positive could do a better job tomorrow as an octumverate than we are getting done to us as I type. We need to think real hard on legitimate ways to improve the way our country operates and that may take revamping The Constitution (that thought will get you strict Constitutionalists into the upper range of your blood pressure). The Electoral College makes no sense unless you like having a system that can be manipulated by swinging a few states; a political system that promotes, for office, only people who are rich or can raise money from the rich and from rich companies by promising the bank, literally, is not a good system, First Amendment or not. With the technology in our country, how can 70 percent of the people think we do not belong in wars, yet we are still there? We need to find a way where those running government can actually be watched and moved by the people who put them in office, constitutionally of the people, by the people and for the people did not mean for business and self-interested special groups.

5. We desperately need a tax code/system that will seem fair to most of the folk and a system where all have some sort of responsibility for paying taxes. This topic is a popular shuttlecock being spucked about by every nit-wit-politician (that’s a redundancy) these days. Bottom line is that none want to make across the board restructuring that cuts everyone, deeply and equally; again I remind you that pro-big-business groups have the country by the short-hairs and a mere mention of “loss of jobs” sends us all in a tizzy whether the tax increase or loss of deduction would really work to increase unemployment or not. Hell, folks, if Bush’s stimulus checks, his tax cuts, and capital gains at 15 percent really trickled down, wouldn’t we be in high clover right now? Come on, where’s the proof that theory really works or how come it didn’t? And if you don’t believe we need to get the tax-code-deduction-junk fixed take a look at this:

Section 179 write-off After the very recent passage of the 'Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010', businesses that exceed the $2 million in capital expenditure threshold can take a bonus depreciation of 50% on the amount that exceeds the limit. And then also take normal depreciation on the rest. Nice. ("Bonus Depreciation" didn't make it into the 'HIRE Act of 2010' but did make it in the 'Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010' extending "bonus depreciation" for the 2010 tax year – Plus, many small businesses can instantly deduct up to $250,000 worth of new and preowned equipment in the year it's first placed in service. The name of this generous break is the Section 179 depreciation deduction, and it can reduce both your federal income tax and self-employment tax bills. (You may get a state-tax deduction too.) Without it, you'd have to depreciate most business equipment gradually over five to seven years. New and preowned "heavy" SUVs, pickups, and vans used more than 50% for business purposes are eligible for the deduction. For example, say you spend $60,000 in 2010 to buy a new Cadillac Escalade that is used 100% in your business. You can generally claim at least the following first-year deductions on your business's 2010 federal return: the $25,000 Section 179 write-off plus $7,000 worth of regular depreciation [20% x ($60,000 - $25,000)]. So your first-year depreciation deductions add up to $32,000, or about 53% of the new Escalade's cost. Wait there’s more there are special 179 Deduction Zones that Qualify for Increased Deduction Limits. The additional deduction amounts vary, depending on which zone your company is currently operating in.
If your company is operating in one of the following zones, you may qualify for the increased deduction limits:
• New York Liberty Zone
• Enterprise Zone and Renewal Community Businesses
• Gulf Opportunity Zone (areas affected by recent Gulf Hurricanes)


Get it? I blogged earlier this year about how confusing it is to figure out just what is a small business, but what I wonder is how many tax attorneys and lawyers are riding around in NYC, LA, and Dallas in an Escalade, Chevy Tahoe or Ram pickup, getting to deduct all or a sizable portion of that vehicle’s cost in a single year, riding absolutely for free. Heck, add in the 50.5 cents a mile federal deduction for operating expense, and those boys and gals really are riding in ass-high clover while reducing federal revenue. And don’t you just love the names of the zones: liberty, enterprise, opportunity? Who’s selling what to whom here? Did you get a deduction when you drove to work every day? Will small businessmen, whoever the hell they are, line up at the next Tea Party to tell how they get free Escalades? Will you ever know if they used the vehicle for 100 percent of business or for 15 percent? All rhetorical folks, all rhetorical, so just chill, don’t blow a conservative-head-gasket.

That’s it, a fair start on my remodeling project. Some is a bit repetitious but important enough for me to repeat. Stay tuned though because in the next issue I am going to deeply attack myself and propose a self-investment program whereby I will become a truly better person.

Hope you had safe and joyous Christmas and that the New Year brings you more friends and great health. Please light a real or mental candle for those not having such a great time during this holiday season. http://www.section179.org/special_tax_deduction_zones.html

Friday, December 24, 2010

Anything but Fruitcake

It is the holiday season (I can be religiously correct) ; for my entire life so far I have been blessed with celebrating a Christian custom and a birth date within two days of each other. So, at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century (or is it the first year of the second decade; I could never figure); I find myself grooving on another Christmas and on turning sixty-five.

In case you are not too busy with all the celebrating, here is a list from which you can pluck an item to get me for my B-day/Xmas gift:

1. Toe nail clipper with a built in light; my toes have moved farther away and thus are always in the dark.
2. Socks with built in bunion pads; as my toes moved farther away, they must have twisted my feet for I have hellacious bunions. My Dad was convinced his were from wearing hand-me-down-poorly-fitting-shoes during the Depression. I have discovered that bunions are a genetic malady which ignores totally the price one spends on shoes. My bunions arrived suddenly over night; I went to bed with lovely feet, fit for a pedicure commercial, but woke up with feet as twisted as gum lumber.
3. A weed whacker for the weird hairs that have begun to sprout from areas on my body that I did not know had follicles; I need a mini-weed whacker that will fit in my ears and up my nose and down the back of my neck, to mention areas on my carcass that are mentionable. The battery powered nibbler I bought, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE, just will not make it through the undergrowth.
4. Stock in a titanium orthopedic appliance company; I am destined for some knees, digits, and vertebrae.
5. Magnifying bins for the refrigerator; I selected, peeled, and cut a bratwurst for a cucumber the other night, interesting salad. My bifocals no longer work except for objects at eleven inches and four hundred feet (hence the toe nail problem is exacerbated).
6. A putter with which I can make better than 20 percent of putts inside of 4 feet; I have a hundred putters; one more will not get in the way.
7. A year’s supply of gas without ethanol; a guy has to hope once in a while that something sensible will happen in a country that is supposedly sensible.
8. A new Medicare card; I washed mine already.

That’s it; I live simply; my wants are few; I am patient; after all, I waited eighteen years for a regulation birthday cake to replace the fruit cakes I usually got. Had I no siblings, I would have thought b-day cakes were naturally rummy-brown with raisins and chunks of sticky pineapple. Ah well. Being born near a major holiday builds character or a character or a fruitcake.


I hope all have a joyous season filled with family fun and pleasant memories. Fuzz, too, sends regards from her brand, new, plaid, LL Bean doggy bed (2.99 at Goodwill).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, The Stupid Get More Stupider

When it snows here, that is. There I was yesterday, shooting a round of friendly billiards with my conservative, not a republican, buddy, actually getting along, even when he claimed to an observer of our game and fellow lover of fine draft and grits that we get along because I am just stupid, to which I simply agreed, no arguing with a half truth among those sorts, when, as a local rustic, returning from a momentary smoke break entered the rear door to the billiard parlor, we discovered that the gods had begun dusting the environs with a powdery, delicious snow. Realizing that I had an appointment at the local Sam’s Club and knowing that the avenues and boulevards would soon be teaming with housewives, escapees from three local high schools, and Korean, Indian, and Pakistani merchants hustling to snatch up gallon upon gallons of milk and racing to corner the market in Clark Bars and M & Ms, I decided to forgo the rigors of straight pool to get a jump start on my marketing and on the imminent surge in traffic.

The thoroughfares were instantly slick, and I was not out of the parking lot more than a mile before I watched a giant SUV whizzing in a three tight circles before coming to rest firmly against a power pole. I am admittedly suspicious of Samaritans but nonetheless, pulled to a stop just beyond the crumpled vehicle, got out, trudged over to the driver’s window of the huge black Escalade and tapped gently on the window. The window lowered with what can only be considered an expensive whir and the driver, a woman I suppose in her mid-thirties, turned, held up a finger, and continued listening to her Blackberry. In the back seat, several toddlers were safely encumbered in infant seats and seat belts and all seemed much better off than I. The On Star device in the Cadillac was burbling something about Mrs. SuchandNot’s being in an accident and a clearly British voice was reciting a list of what procedures had been initiated for her benefit. I felt relieved and since mom seemed to be totally engaged with the Blackberry, I turned to get off the shoulder before I was flattened by a Bud truck. I was nearly away when the good woman clicked off her device and said, “Oh, thanks so much for stopping. The children were released from the Downtown School of Christianity and SAT Prep, and after picking them up, I was listening to Glenn Beck’s show about how reconnecting with the Founders could lift us spiritually. I was so sure that with the four-wheel -drive engaged I could not possibly lose control. But no matter, a limo has been sent. I do hope they will hurry because Sarah Palin is the guest on the O’Reilly Factor, and I do so want to hear her rationale for drilling for oil in ANWAR. You do realize that these gas prices are so ridiculous, why it takes a hundred dollars to fill this vehicle and that’s if I don’t use high-test. And at nine miles per gallon, I just so hate to fill up with gas that comes from some Muslim theocracy. But in any case, here is a five for stopping; I assure you that we are fine and the children are, too. They are watching a DVD on hedge funding and commodity trading.” I was tempted but did not take the five, figuring she would need it this summer to buy a gallon of fuel. I walked back to the old Focus marveling on how composed she was during such dire times. How we react to stressful times is a true indication of our rearing, what?

I was trying to edge onto the road when a pickup with tires as high as my waist busted on by with a blare of the horn and a spray of slush over my windshield. As the wet snow cleared from window, I did see Nuke Obama and Charlton Heston Is God bumper stickers and one nifty decal of a dear little boy urinating on a donkey. How droll we Americans are, I thought as I followed the truck to the next stop sign. Even with gentle braking, I did slide a bit as I approached the sign; the roads were slipperier by the minute. As I arrived, the pickup which looked very much like a Marine ready assault vehicle roared away from the stop in a rooster tail of snow and stone. The truck spun twice, skidded, and fishtailed for about fifty yards before going nose down into a four foot ditch. Before, I could pull off again to offer assistance, the driver had begun a steady spraying of mud and muck across much of the three lane connector road as he tried to rock his way out of the ditch. I did pull over about twenty-five yard up-road but admittedly was a bit nervous about approaching this gargantuan truck while the operator was gunning the engine and hopping back and forth between first and reverse. Finally the surging stopped, I eased my way out the door, took a couple of steps toward the ditched truck, and yelled. “You OK?” The driver bounded from the cab, hit the road, slipped, and landed, soles of his Dan Posts skyward, flat on his buttocks, John Deere Cap slightly askew. I am guessing the poor fellow was a bit embarrassed because he lept up and began yelling, “Effin gubment, fcqwacin do nothing gubment. Pay all these g-damn taxes and sonsabitches can’ even freaking salt the roads. That’s the mothereffin trouble with this county; bunch of retard democrats sitting around the county roads figurin what damned democrat-development to salt first while they let the main roads go. Shit.” With that he went to kick the step up to his cab, missed, caught his balance a bit but slid down into the ditch and wedged just under the huge, stainless exhaust pipe. Lucky he didn’t set his Wranglers on fire. “Do you want me to call a tow truck?” As he wriggled out from under the struck and managed to stand, he replied,“No, dude, I was talking to my old man when I went in the ditch; he’s coming with the Hummer to get me out. This is a bitch; I am supposed to meet my woman at the Turtle for happy hour. Now, I got to wait. I am goin’ to cell Ford and tell them how bad their damn traction is on this sucker, shit forty thousand and the bitch won’t hold the road. Proly some freaking regulation from freakin Nader keeps them from building ‘em they way they need to. But thanks, dude, dad ought to be here in a bit; he's about to get off from work at DMV.” As I walked back to my car, I did notice two stickers on the front bumper: Palin for Prez and Support Cheney’s Skeet Range.

This stuff happens all the time here; an inch of snow brings out all sorts of not so sharp republicans, causes mayhem, and throws all sorts of people together, literally. I was only a bit late to Sam’s but was able to snag the last gallon of milk, the next to last rotisserie-chicken, 4.99, and one loaf each of white and wheat bread. There were plenty of eggs, a bargain on coffee and five pound cheese, and I made it home, only two fender benders slowing down my progress. I am hunkered down now waiting for the big melt. I hope my billiard-buddy got home OK; he’s susceptible to goofiness when it snows.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shut it up, just shut up Shut up

I just never stops- nearly every day, dufusest Joe Scarborough brings some republican on to sputter some wisdom about debt, taxes, insurance, conservatism, etc,. you know all the stuff that makes the republican world spin. This morning he brought in a Florida republican representative, Vern Buchanan. Gosh, it was a breath stealing moment, and I nearly choked on my banana-filled omelet watching this fellow allow how the national debt is ruinous, how democrats are gawdawful spenders, and how democrat's stuff needs to be cut and all. Yet, when Mark Halprin asked what SPECIFIC areas in the federal budget Buchanan would cut, it went something like this:

Halprin: What areas in the US budget would you focus on to cut spending?
Buchannan: (with Adam’s apple bobbing like a shipwrecked Somali pirate) Errr, spit, swallow, hmmm, the whole budget is errr umm open to examination.
Halprin: The budget is no secret what specific areas are you in favor of cutting or reducing.
Buchannan: Hm, spit, swallow, hack, cough, errr, well all of it is on the table.
Halprin: We know it is all on the table but in what areas would you apply the knife?
Buchannan: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhghgh, errrrrr, there are places to look . . . aggggghhhhh
Scarborough: Oh the Medicare is killing us and Social Security.
Buchannan: Arggggherhmmmmmmmmmmmmm yes definitely entitlements are killing us.

OK, so I am picking on another boob of a republican, but is there a conservative in office who can articulate a solid idea about how we can get the mess under control in the light of day or do all of them simply moan, sputter, and phlegminate when asked direct questions?

Here are some interesting specifics on good ol’ Vern Buchannan. He is a former owner of American Speedy Printing, a franchiser chased around the courts for all sorts of ethical and business violations in the late 80s and early 09s. He also borrowed 15.4 million from Merrill Lynch which he said he felt no obligation to repay when his company went belly up. A Michigan creditors’ committee accused this fine conservative of taking excessive compensation and other actions to make American Speedy look more fiscally sound than it was. Plus, the IRS chased him for nearly a decade trying to get at taxes owed on the Merrill deal. Buchanan owns reinsurance companies based, guess . . . in Turks and Caicos Islands and part of another reinsurance firm in Bermuda, businesses which are tax havens. To show that he was adept at understanding the plight of the American tax payer and to acknowledge that he understood the tax code well, in 1999 Buchannan entered into a real estate deal and civil suit with and against other developers whereby he was able to buy and sell a condo and pay 20 percent capital gains on the profits of 1.6 million rather than 39.6 percent tax on earned income. And who says conservatives are too careful? In 2010 he filed his financial statements as required by House law, in 69 pages, 100 million in assets, placing him easily in the top five of the richest members of the House. This data is arguable, of course, because the law, as enacted by the House for financial disclosure, is so loosely constructed Buchanan can legally report that his net worth is from minus 69 million to plus 366 million (funny but of the richest members of Congress he is the ONLY one to show that maybe he is broker than I). I think that with his vast experience in business (he declares he is the head or partner in about 50 businesses), his deep familiarity with courts, his fathomless knowledge of the tax codes that he should be able to command a vocabulary which would enable him to target places in the budget that he recommends for reduction in order to conserve fiscal responsibility. Not Vern, hell if you took errr, hmmm, chawcgker, and argggghh out of this fellow’s working vocabulary, he would be mute.

I really do not care what people make, not really, even though I do my share of grumbling. I do care that we elect a bunch of citizens who stir stuff up with fear, hate, disinformation, and demagoguery and who despite seedy histories get elected anyhow. I do not care if people are democrats, republicans, teapartiers, independents; I just can’t throw in with them if they have a track record and vocabulary like Buchanan’s.


http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=412196
http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/index.html
http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/index.php
http://buchanan.house.gov/
PS Buchanan's financial disclosure shows a 9000 dollar Maryland pension?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh, Where Are Your Cojones?

Dear Prez:
I am hoping you will take a look back about a year and a half ago and pull out my letters where I offered a bit of advice plus asked you for a job, offering to work real cheap compared to the bloodsucking-know-nothing-parasites you hired to keep you in good standing with Mericans and all, a pretty tall order no matter how nice your wife is or how cute your kids are. Of course the wizards there at the White House had to know that 30 percent of people were not going to care for you no matter what you did. Then, when you throw in the republicans and DINOs and other retards who ain’t going to admit ever that you might possibly stumble into a good idea, well heck, as I said before you ought to just hang up the phone, go on down to the gym, and shoot some hoops.

Look, you put together a stimulus package and the republicans went ballistic; you turned it over to the states to spend as they wished and the states' rights republicans went ballistic over all the silly shit ways states came up with to spend it. The states took it, spent it and the stimulating sort of worked but don't forget not one, not one republican could step away from the lock-step-voting-apparati of their party and cast a vote for that spending plan simply for the psychological good of the country. And, old pal of a president, forgetting that they were the party that just handed you the largest debt ever passed to a president, they labeled you a tax-and-spent-reverse-racist-socialist-Hitler. They are the best at rewriting history. Hell, dude, you are the perfect answer to republican prayers.

You are black, sort of, thus linked to all the black-lazy-don’t-want-to-work-welfare problems, all the brown-illegal-steal-our-jobs-Mexican-immigrant problems, and with your foreigner-name it’s your entire fault that Mericans can’t get through an airport without an x-ray or a titty feel. It’s your entire fault, all of it. Dude, how DID you get elected; better yet, where are all the mother-suckers who voted for you? They sure have slipped out of politico-radar-range haven’t they?

See, I was right, when I said you should have signed me on for the paltry sum of 30K a year plus a room for me and the Fuzz; we would have bunked right there in the White House; I could have given you a base-gross-vulgar view of life, and Fuzz could have romped around with your hound, teaching it some manners. But you’d rather listen to all those quasi-demo-neo-Progresso-dumb-asses who could not guide a golf ball down a rain spout. First thing, I would have got you in the frame of mind to shut up the stupid stuff: for example we'd have put your birth-certificate and the newspaper’s birth notice up on YouTube with some genius like Axelrod going over both, line-by-line, real slow, so as to make it easy for conservatives and republicans to understand. Then, with the petty BS out of the way, I’d have had you come out for a special tax on Wall Street and the investment banks, say a penalty tax for their screwing us to no end, a screw-tax. Oh, the republicans and financiers would have screamed about how such a deal would ruin business and about how the cost would deepen the recession what with it trickling back to the stock owners and all. But then you’d have said, a la Dickhead Cheney, “So? Only 4.3468 percent of Mericans own stock anyhow.” There are about 2 billion stocks traded on the NYSE each DAY and I’d have had you figure an insignificant tax on each trade,in All exchanges. It does not take much of an accountant to figure that a very small surcharge per stock on over a BILLION stocks would add up real quic, building a nice get-out-of-debt-off-the-boys-who-put-us-there-fund. Oh yeah, sir, then I would have had you do a real good thing by figuring out a deeper penalty tax on the derivative-trades that Wall Street still refuses to make transparent. These taxes would go to the same deficit-reducing fund. The gist is that these rotten asses know the government has to bail them out every time they fornicate the Merican public because that IS the only way to avoid disaster; therefore, they never stop screwing the tax payer. Let their industry pay for the anguish caused by their greed. And guess what, if those boys and gals in the legalized gambling business of stocks, commodities, derivatives don’t want to play ball, shit, just freeze their assets and nationalize their asses. I think a bunch of Mericans might just shift right on over to your side if you show you are fed-up with our getting sodomized every day by those jerks and that you will hold them accountable for their actions.

There’s a lot I would have had you sign up for, sir. I know you are busy and all trying to explain to John Boehner what compromise means and the difference between a compromise and being compromised; he’s a republican for sure, after all, rejecting a word as if it isn’t really in the dictionary, or maybe there is a republican dictionary, probably is when I think about it, and probably has about a third the entries of a abridged dictionary. Just let the Boner slide, and go ahead and tell people that without mandates to new technology and shifts in energy use, we might as well get prepared for about 9 percent unemployment for a few decades. I have no clue why you are meeting this week with CEOs to try to get people back to work; a CEO is not going to give up a benefit or hire a soul if such action would affect her package of riches. Instead, you could insist that federal agencies that use vehicles for traveling less than fifty miles a day, including the sorry-assed congress, FBI, CIA, NSA, etceteratum have to use electric cars. I do not give a damn nor should you if the vehicles are goofy looking; every postal delivery person with the exception of some rural carriers could be driving one as I type. And I think, despite my eternal dislike for his politics, T-Bone Pickens may be onto something when he wants to take large transportation fleets and convert them to natural gas. So what if his old lady has twelve million shares in a company positioned to provide the infrastructure, other companies would hop on the idea too. Then, to get a cleaner fuel cheaply to heat homes and operate businesses, you could arrange for an expansion of infrastructure to deliver natural gas throughout Merica, and if the gas and oil boys are not lying about the reserves, that ought to perk up jobs plus help out our national security. If the wretched oil, gas, and coal companies interfere with ANY of these mandates, you nationalize the mineral wealth of the United States. Hell, if they are going to call you a socialist, Mr. P, and then you might as well teach them what socialism really looks like. Holy oil changes, this country screwed up way long ago when it let a few own all the peoples’ wealth, anyway. OK, have you got it: stomp on the throat of the financiers; kick-off a campaign to put people to work doing something other than serving Big Macs and dumping bed pans; show the oil-boys who is boss. Pretty easy and considering you got no chance in hell of getting reelected you could have a blast in the meantime. Oh, before you go to bed, go on and suck it up and free the homos in the services; if they are volunteering to take a bullet for me and you, they should not have to be liars.

BTW, BFFF, I am still available, but you’d better get up with me soon; I am considering starting my own medical marijuana delivery business, Need Weed? We Speed! See, I get a huge van and fill it with all sorts of exotic grass, deliver door-to-door, set up in the lot available next to Micky D's . . . .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Don’t Know My Hand from My Glove

I hope I will be remembered for my candid assessment of self: I think that I have been fairly open in my blogs about how really confused I am about all stuff. The only redemption for me is that I admit it. Right this minute, I am totally confused about what is what and who is who on the political spectrum. Conservative republicans just got a progressive president to agree to a deal that plunked another trillion dollars worth of deficit on our national books. So, we got an extension of Bush-tax-cuts, thus reducing revenue and widening the deficit, and we got an extension of unemployment benefits for those still or recently unemployed, thus widening the deficit even more. I fail to see anything conservative in this or in any of the dealings since the last election. I do know that, despite their pending power surge in the House, the republicans have not offered any solutions on how to strengthen our economy and our nation other than cut taxes. Hell, I must have misunderstood the synonym lesson where conserve means to save. What’s conserving about adding to a deficit?

All of this republican tax-not theory spins around the myth of trickle down economics. I am willing to accept the idea that an increase in a paycheck actually trickles down into companies thus making our economy stronger. I will accept it if someone will just prove it. Oh sure, pundits proclaim all the time that trickling happens and other pundits proclaim the opposite. Here’s my question: if lower taxes are the answer to our economic problems how come we are not in fat city after Bush II cut taxes and popped out two stimulus checks while he was in office? Forgive my misappropriation of prepositions, but where did that money trickle to, down to, or up to? Data suggests it went up as we added more millionaires than we lost during the deep recession; the top 2 percent of the country got wealthier; and real middle class folks (people who make less than 100 K per year) lost nearly 10 percent in real income. I have not heard a single republican argue these simple data points. In fact, they seem pretty happy that that’s what happened.

When one looks at the information on who is unemployed, the figures reveal that 4 percent of the unemployed have college degrees. The rest, 96 percent of the unemployed population, have some college or less and of course, those with no high school make up the largest group of unemployed. Republicans love these figures; I am firmly convinced. With the nation in near bankruptcy (probably we should go into a controlled bankruptcy) and jobs scarce, republicans are overjoyed knowing the bulk folks will have to work for less, work two jobs to get by, and will accept fewer benefits to get a job. Who wins is obviously Coporatemerica who can rehire for way less than it paid when they laid-off millions. The republicans have made the pain worse: in Bush’s terms rich folks were taxed less on money they make from wealth than they made from WORK (capital gains tax is at 15 percent, right?) Therefore, when republicans yap about honoring hard work and saving the working man from the tax man, they are just yapping. They want us broke, confused, scared, and willing to work for nothing because all our angst translates to huge profits for Coporatemerica which pays gobs of loot to get them elected. If republicans really wanted to be conservatives, they would increase revenues by raising taxes thus admitting that they lost their way during Dumya's terms and that they were owning up to it. Gawd, I nearly choked laughing at the idea of a republican actually admitting to something.

If one has a wit of sense, he will look at the deficit with one eye and look at the budget with the other. What parts of the national budget can be slashed enough without hurting someone to get us out of debt? I have long been in favor of cutting an over-bloated defense budget, but if we did that where would all the workers in the defense industry and in defense agencies find jobs? I wouldn’t mind dropping the federal department of education but where would all those folks find work and how would states, all ready broke from reduced revenues and busted investments, make up for the 20 to 30 percent reduction in revenue? By laying-off more teachers? Conservatives are all for reducing the size of governments; I only want conservatives to tell me where folks will find work or how we will pay for unemployment benefits for 20 percent of the nation if we reduce government employment. Fact is, I know and conservatives know that we need government; conservatives just won’t pay for the government we need. I am not saying how we spend can’t be improved and am not saying that we should ignore all the corruption and waste that goes in with our tax dollars, but we do need to pay for what we buy. That thought is a conservative thought, and it wouldn’t it be delightful if that kind of thinking were put into action by politicians pretending to be conservatives?

For a change, I want you conservatives to identify what you conserve: air, water, jobs, education, highways, medicine, you name it, just please identify it when you actually save it. I will give you credit even for saying you just saved a whole bunch of rich folks a shitload of money; just admit it. And I really want conservative republicans to come up with some ideas, some solutions, some fixes, and some rationales for how to make the country better, pronto. When republicans after regaining a bit of power in the House can come up only with the single goal of “making sure Obama does not have another term in office,” I have to wonder how in the world they suckered anyone into voting for them. We are in troubled times, and the best goal the republican leadership can come up with is getting rid of the president who may be the best republican the democrats ever elected? Hey, I will wait patiently for some conservative solutions to our problems. In the meantime, I hope someone will suck up his or her guts and admit that without raising taxes, we are broke and going to be more broker down the road.

Friday, December 3, 2010

God, Is Martha Stewart Available? I Want Her. . .

Wednesday or maybe it was yesterday, while I was fluffing at Fuzz and trying to fire up a cigar butt that had fallen under the azalea at the back steps, another revelation zapped me so hard that I nearly dropped the poor dog into the ash can. I was struck with a huge case of empathetic connection with President Obama about his party losing power and all. I, too, can’t hang on to a blame thing, and I don’t have close to a nation to look after.

I can do a passable job finding the dollar amount of a defense-contract for providing “Sports Officiating Services on Charleston Air Force Base, and Charleston Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, South Carolina 644K”, but I cannot locate half my socks. I try to blame the Fuzz (for the socks not the 744 K,) but she refuses to accept guilt for either. I can find the person-by-person vote on the healthcare bills, but since 2008, I have not been able to find my nifty blue sock with the red polo pony embroidered at the top. I was digging, with a 2/3 yardstick, around Monday under the washer hoping to turn up the mother-lode of socks but drug only one out. I was fairly thrilled at the possibility of matching it up only to discover that I had tossed its mate in a dumpster in 2009. I am hanging onto this turquoise sock for it may make a dandy dust cloth for the when I lose the Swiffer.

I can find for how much Dick Cheney’s (the biggest crook next to Richard Nixon that ever held a public office) Halliburton-stock options rose while the company was sucking up no-bid government contracts and serving our troops in the Middle East (241 K to 8 million from 2004 to 2005), but while standing in the backyard cogitating on how to cut a piece of safety glass, I lost my Land’s End cashmere sweater. One minute I have it on; at the next cool breeze, it is gone. I did find it, though, hung up under the truck on the spare tire rack, haven’t a clue how it got there. If I hadn’t bent over to pick up a pair of reading glasses that I lost last summer, I would never have spied it. If I don’t lose it before I get it to the dry cleaners that streak of oil running across the shoulders ought to come out just fine.

Hey, I can find in no time information on taxes; for example, “the value of the tax breaks for homeownership (88 billion) exceeds total spending by the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the largest tax expenditure is the exclusion of employers’ contributions for their employees’ medical insurance premiums and medical care. Under this provision, contributions are excluded from the employee’s gross income, while the employer may deduct the cost as a business expense.” I can also tell you that our government “is seeking applications (Optional Form 612) from qualified U.S. Citizens to provide services as a Higher Education Advisor under a Personal Services Contract, as described in the attached solicitation. The place of performance for this position will be in Jakarta, Indonesia (85 to105 K per year)” which if my info is correct because it is earned overseas will be tax free. I can find you all sorts of stuff like this, but right now, this minute, I cannot find my It Takes a Village to Raise an Idiot, George W. Bush coffee cup. I know I used it; there’s about a cup missing from the coffee-pot; I know from the lingering flavor of Kopi Luwak that I had at least one cup of coffee this morning. I want another but can’t find my favorite cup, and the way things are going, I probably won’t find it until next month when I get the George Forman grill out from under the porch. Oh well, I’ll just go find my Sarah Palin for Secretary of Education cup and hope I can hang on to it long enough to get my daily dose of caffeine. Then, I am going to Martha’s website to find out how she is so organized, alla time.


https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=172e9c3e28f52f49a0c5f7c3abeb038c&tab=core&_cview=1
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/expenditures/largest.cfm
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=e441db3956a93f448bcd47038ccedd6c&tab=core&_cview=0

Monday, November 22, 2010

That Hurts Like Crap

I am positive that is what Sarah Palin yelped when a pretty, large halibut bitch-slapped her as it flopped around the deck of the boat from which she was fishing. She uttered that mild expletive just before whacking the creature all about its head and shoulders with what appeared to be either a billy club or a stubby plank from her political platform. I do not watch the Palins’ reality show for lots of reasons. I guess because she is sort of a presidential candidate, news-shows usually carry clips of her and her family slip-sliding through normal Alaskan life. This clip of the halibut-hunt was followed by another of her shooting at and instructing Bristol how to shoot at clay pigeons. Damn nice shotgun, too, which Bristol took to much like how she has taken to Dancing with the Stars. That’s another reality show I would not view, even if I had cable to view it on. When it comes to the Palins and reality shows, I feel much like the guy who blasted his TV with a shotgun when Bristol won the last round of Dancing with the Stars. The dude would have been better off, though, if he had had Bristol fire the gun; from what I saw of The Palins Do Alaska, Bristol may well know how to tango, but she could not hit a cow in the ass with a Cadillac. I’ve thought the idea of blasting away at a TV is uber-cool since, way back in 1971, when John Prine in “Spanish Pipe Dream,” has a topless singer advising the narrator to “blow up his TV,” among other actions, in order to get away from the nuttiness of the world.

For sure the world may be nuttier now than it was back in 1971, or at least, we have more channels on the TV and more direct streams on the internet to show us how really insane stuff is. Take the Palins, take her drooling, admiring base, take a slide rule and a gross of yellow legal-pads, and go figure up a logical, answer for why, she has followers, any followers. Is she a political savant with an instinct for what is really wrong with America, or is she a bee-hived, prom queen simply living the American dream of stupefying enough people to make a boat-load of money? I get why old-crap-in-your-Depends-republicans like Pat Buchannan like her; they like anything in a skirt that is young, breasted, butted. And Pat’s simply pursuing his happiness. But is having a nice butt really a solid credential for public office? Of course, the gun crowd loves her, and she makes sure, on her reality show, that she shoots every weapon available to the general citizen, then some. I did like the clip of her shooting a full magazine out of an AK-47, Uzi, or Kalashnikov or whatever; she was hotter than an habanero, all leathered up, squeezing off rounds. Damn good Constitutional stuff. So, you got the arms folks and the cattle-hide folks all in line to attend one of her 100 K lectures on what’s wrong with Merica. And there’s a bunch who likes her logic, her savvy, her semantics, and her plan for our nation. When asked what steps republicans should take to get the country right again, she responded with rhetorical skill, “I think, kind of tougher to put our arms around, but allowing America's spirit to rise again by not being afraid to kind of go back to some of our roots as a God fearing nation where we're not afraid to say especially in times of potential trouble in the future here, where we're not afraid to say, you know, we don't have all the answers as fallible men and women so it would be wise of us to start seeking some divine intervention again in this country, so that we can be safe and secure and prosperous again. To have people involved in government who aren't afraid to go that route, not so afraid of the political correctness that you know – they have to be afraid of what the media said about them if they were to proclaim their alliance to our creator.´ In this little snippet of directional wisdom, she not only reaches out to fundamentalists who all know god has nothing to do with atheistic democrats but also spins a shout out to those, like Glenn Beck, who are always mumbling about the Founders and our roots and all. Oh, yeah, on her way to the podium, she wished Ronald Reagan a happy birthday, and you know to whom that appeals, for Reagan is the Wizard of Wonderful; just ask any republican.

When it comes to Palin, I confess to having more than a tad of jealously. After all, why her and not me? How in the world of scrambled-eggs-politics did John McCain call her to national prominence? I sure hope ol’ John s getting some residuals from her for perpetrating one of the biggest scams in American history; Plain does not pale in comparison to Madoff or any other bunko artist who has bilked the public. Really, she has got to be wetting her skin-tight undies every time she cashes one of those 100 K checks; she’s got to be thrilled and I would be too. Big money for dumbness, a reality show for not being able to recall what she reads on a daily basis (or for revealing that she does not read), a political career for quitting in the middle of a contract with Alaskans then touting the rehashed version of the republican’s Contract with America, a booked, solid speaking-schedule with people yelling, frothing, fainting, crying for a litany of you-betchas and refudiates. I am in the grasp of hazle-eyed-envy, jealous because I can easily be as dumb as Palin; I just need the chance. I can do stupid. The way I got it figured, in this country, it is easier to be stupid as a politician to get rich than it is to be smart as a teacher to make a living.

Oh well, I ought to just give up on the idea of rich and famous via stupidity; I probably couldn’t be consistently dumb enough. Yes, there is a lot of pressure playing dumb all the time; I would screw it up somehow like revealing that I know Ronald Reagan died years ago and really doesn’t celebrate birthdays anymore.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crooks, Damned Crooks, and . . .

Gosh, has it been two weeks since the mid-term election? Where have I been? OK, I have been hammering and painting away, chipping at all the home improvements that I put off last summer under the pretense that it was way too hot to work, especially hot after walking eighteen holes, smoking damned cheap cigars, and fussing with all my conservio-tea-republico-Jeffersonian golf buddies. Hell, even my so called liberal friends from college have pretty much regressed to a mutant form of republicanism. So, I have one simple question for all of you who voted in the “new” republico-tea-conservio-power-trust, has this f-group fixed the country, yet? I mean it HAS been two weeks for goodness sakes, and this group is a bunch of uber-fixers, right? And they all got political-religion from the scare throwed into them by the surge of teaparty-power, correct? Let’s take a look at a couple of soon to be leaders of our country and their “beliefs” about being the duty bound repairmen.

There’s Mitch McConnell, rhymes with O’Donnell, who says, "Americans are speaking out and we are listening. The proposals put forward today by House Republicans reflect what Americans are saying. They want to us to focus on jobs first, fight wasteful Washington spending, repeal and replace the health spending bill and shrink an exploding deficit. Americans want a smaller, less costly and more accountable government. We strongly support this effort, and together, House and Senate Republicans will continue to fight for these principles. While the White House will retain the veto pen, House and Senate Republicans will focus on making America more competitive, reducing the size and cost of government, keeping our nation strong and secure, and reining in the massive health care costs and mandates imposed by the Democrats' health spending bill." Actually, this dufus should say, correctly, some Americans, about 42 percent, want some of the items in the statement. This floppy, jawed dude does NOT speak for me- aherrrrummmmm, after all was he reining-in when he helped pass Bush’s prescription bill that is going to cost about a trillion plus in ten years? Sure, what he claims to want to do makes for good sound-nibbles, but take a look. How will he make a smaller government without adding to the unemployment numbers? Will he reduce wasteful spending in all areas of government including defense? I doubt it. And if he does all that, how will he not increase unemployment in the ranks of all the businesses that presently feed the Federal Hog? If he shrinks the federal government, where will all those folks, who sell to the federal government, paper, media, pens, coffee cups, cars, jets, doughnuts ,not to mention paper clips, find jobs? Good ol’ Mitch has been in office since 1984 (an appropriate irony) and had been in service to us for 16 years when Bush II showed up which in my limited thinking should have placed him at some sort of point of power with the conserving-republicans. However, in his first year in office, good ol’ George II borrowed 133 billion dollars to pay for tax cuts to stimulate the economy (remember those sweet little checks all you guys were chortling about?) when that didn’t work, he and his conservio-buddies, like Mr. Mitch, rammed through another stimulus without cutting spending; thus, in the year of the conservatives. Mitch and his ilks increased the national debt more than any preceding president and congress in the history of our country. And Mitch McConnell speaks for conservative America? Then to prove that he was truly conservative, this republican juggernaut of fiscal responsibility helped run the deficit in 2004 to half a trillion dollars. Heck, we don’t need to worry about liberals and progressive and tax-and-spend -democrats with conservatives like this acrylic-haired-elephant's-ass saving us a bundle with his oversight.

Then, there’s Paul D Ryan, who has been in office since 1998 and just in time for Bush II, and will be the new chair of the budget committee. He said, “In an effort to spur action on meeting this challenge, I put forward a reform plan back in 2008: "A Roadmap for America's Future" (www.americanroadmap.org). When I introduced the plan over two years ago, and reintroduced an updated version earlier this year, it was my hope to break through the political paralysis, and advance an open and honest discussion about how our nation can address its fiscal challenges.” I like roadmaps which would address money problems; I like roadmaps which would actually work but consider this wanker’s plan: how come he didn’t come up with it sometime between 2000 and 2007 when George II was currying republican favor in the electorate by sending checks every year to stimulate something or another. And how come he wasn’t hammering out a reform plan to bridle Hank Paulson’s diminishing federal regulations which pretty much allowed Wall Street and Big Banking to wreck the country and really the world’s economy with all the derivatives invented to make bunches of money for huge supporters of republicans. How come Ryan, this fiscal-conservative-reformer, wasn’t all over that lump of horseshit? Here’s another little quote from our next budgetmiester, “My plan offers those 54 and younger the same health and retirement benefit options I enjoy as a member of Congress. The Congressional Budget Office and the programs' own actuaries have certified that the Roadmap would make Medicare and Social Security permanently solvent, averting the painful cuts from the unsustainable status quo.” So, how can he rip up the entitlement of the current healthcare and provide a sweet, healthcare system for those who are younger than 54 and shrink government spending at the same time? Maybe the current healthcare law is a dog, but really, can what our boys and girls enjoy at the federal and congressional levels be so much cheaper? If you believe that then you have, as my buddy George always says, drunk too much of that flavor of kool-aid. Additionally, can anyone out there find where our next dude-in-charge-of-budgets might be recommending cutting his tax-dollar supported expenses including salary and benefits to match up with the cuts suffered by American-taxpayers in the last three years? Don’t bother looking you ain’t going to find it. Of course, immediately after the election, Ryan appeared in a flash on fair and balanced FUXNews where he was asked by Chris Wallace to name some specific places in the national budget where the newly reinvigorated conservatives were going to cut 100 billion dollars. Here’s his answer: “Chris, when you add stimulus -- the Environmental Protection Agency got a 124 percent increase in its budget in this last session of Congress. There have been so many massive spending increases, 24 percent in the base budget, 84 percent when you add stimulus. We need to take all these spending increases back so that we can get this deficit in the right direction and take the pressure off tax increases.” Well, OK but what does “add stimulus” mean. He can’t get back Obama’s stimulus anymore than he can get back Bush’s. And OK, if there was a 24 percent increase in the base budget, where was it and what part is he going to cut? Conservatives like Ryan say that Nancy Pelosi sucks and is much reviled for not answering questions directly with supporting detail; is Ryan,this newly anointed leader of the conservatives called to service by the mid-terms, any different? Or is it only democrats that suck when they evade direct questions?

See, I just did not get having an election to fix things that resulted in putting the party directly responsible for national grief right back in office. They claim that they get it; that America has spoken; that they will listen. Well, I think you have crooks, dammed crooks, and republicans. And I am getting antsy waiting for the later to hurry up and fix some stuff. Gawd, shouldn't they have got it all done by now?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I’ve Seen the Future, I Can’t Afford It

OK, I think I have been pretty good about not whining or complaining about the state of my personal economics; I also know that I have been really consistent in allowing that, despite the hard times, I am fortunate enough to be doing OK compared to so many out there. But, I got to admit that all the recent talk of reducing entitlements and increasing taxes plus the rising costs of, well, everything from car insurance to potato chips, scared me right into conjuring up a budget. So, last evening, instead of sitting on the porch and admiring the heap of rusted scrap at the end of my yard, my hedge against inflation, I sat down to apply economic theory to my own little nut, if you get my drift.

I will admit right from the start that I am a poor handler of money; if I got it, I spend it; if I don’t got it, I don’t spend it. For years I never carried more than a dollar anywhere. If I had a dollar when I set out in the morning, no matter where I headed, I spent a dollar before I got back home. If I left with ten dollars, I got home broke, just the same. I am such a wastrel that my fiscal restraint had to be not to carry any money any where, any time. But I guess I am like most of you when it comes to balancing a budget, if I ain’t got enough, I have to use something cheaper or quit buying completely. So, I took a look: gots to have car insurance and shopping around revealed that all companies were exactly the same price despite my driving a car that is ten years old and truck that is 29; gots to have electricity and despite deregulation I gots to buy it from DPL; gots to have gasoline and except when Sam’s Club occasionally losses its head, the price of gas is exactly the same no matter where I buy gas; you know where this is headed, right. You did all this yourself, right? There’s so much that I need to pay for over which I have no control that I had to take another tack to working out a way to balance the ins and outs of my economy.

I can’t enter the free market for electricity so I will lower the thermostat from 66 to 64 which ought to save me at least 4 or 5 dollars a month; I can’t do a damn thing about gasoline; despite an economy in dereliction, the price of that stuff has moved right on up. To work things out, I figure I can cut down on travel. The only place I go is to golf and to Sam’s, that’s it. Gots to eat so I cut golf, as of today, down to once a week. This will cut my gas bill by 66 percent unless I get bored and take to driving the roads looking for aluminum cans. I smoke the cheapest cigars that are rolled by hand, less than a buck a piece, but I can switch to machine made for about fifty cents a smoke, a savings of two dollars and fifty cents a week. I could just quit but then I might take up the drink again, one crutch for another; you know how that works, and the booze costs me way more than a couple of bucks a day. White Owls for me from now on. I was spending 6.88 at Sam’s for Diet Dr. Pepper but gave that up for Shasta Diet Cola which runs 6 dollars for 24 but they are 16 ouncers, a good deal all around. Problem is going to Dollar Tree to save bucks with Shasta puts me right in the middle of a store which sells Good and Plenty and Twizzlers Black and Whoppers for a buck and now, Good Humor, too, for a buck. But a guy has to tough it out; as of today, I will use Dollar Tree only or paper essentials, diet sodas, and deodorant- no more candy. Cutting candy’s a biggie, by the way, probably about 40 bucks a month. Other than eliminating candy, I can’t do much with the food budget; I currently eat so much Sam’s 4.98 roasted chicken that when I fart I look to see if I laid an egg.

Cutting out and reducing all this little stuff adds up for sure, but one huge budgetary move has to happen; I have to cut loose from the cable television service to which I am fondly tethered. There is no escaping it; I have had the coupons for digital converters for over a year; cable has gone up just like car and home insurance more than 20 percent in the last 18 months ; Joe Scarborough has swung back to being a redundant, blow-hard; I can read a book instead of watching movies. However, I have not had the guts to call Comcast to see what keeping only high-speed-internet will cost; I know cable subscriptions have declined for the first time ever, suspect Comcast knows how hooked I am on speed for the net, and am afraid I will blow a brain- gasket when it wants to charge me more than 60 percent of my current bill to keep cable even though I am cutting two thirds of the service. But as of today, I am going to do it; I am turning in all the boxes and remotes. I am going to save a plethora of bucks with this move: I wish I were not such a poltroon about it.

And so it goes with balancing the national budget: fools, who say that we don’t have to mess with earmarks because they are such a pitifully small percentage of debt, are fools. Remember what daddy used to say: a hundred pennies make a dollar and finding a hundred places to save a billion saves a hundred billion, pure and simple. And surely, all over the government bureaucrats and politicians can quit using stuff and hundreds of millions will add, up there too (I am going to hate admitting even parenthetically to a momentary admiration for John Boehner when I heard this morning that he is going to NOT use military jets to travel to and from home but will fly commercial instead). But to effect a real change in our national budget, our leaders need to throw off their poltroonery and suck it up: chop some fat from sacred cows plus bring in more revenue. That’s what I am going to do; on the way to drop off the cable apparatus, I am going to drop off my resume at Wal-Mart.

Title by ABC

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sooo Looong, It’s Been Goood to Know Ya- You Betcha

Dadgum it, I missed all the national-mandating against democrats because I spent yesterday ripping, hammering, sawing, and cussing as I rebuilt the south gable of the tool-shed. Yep, I still have a tool shed which it is really a golf shed, but no children would be afraid of being taken out to the golf shed by their daddies. In a bit of personal irony, while I was pretending to be Bob the Builder, the democrats were being taken to the woodshed and with Boner Boehner on his way to be leader of the House, the Piss-Willie Party also got taken to the golf shed, too. For me, this election may be one of the most confusing I have ever witnessed. The country is in absolute dilapidation and dereliction caused by ten years of republican control of the country and its lack of control of Big Business; the mood of the people who make less than 150 K a year is desperate; yet, the nation for the most part wants the pirate-party back in office. Hell, yesterday, on the way to get more screws, I heard another woman from Maryland bragging that she had voted a straight republican ticket, that she wanted to send a wake-up message to Washington. The stupid bitch ought to send a wake-up message to herself, but she probably owns a business and is praying that some republican or another will eliminate corporate taxes as an excuse to stimulate the economy. Or the idiot republican woman who claimed only moments ago that this election was a firm vote against the establishment; holy crapping cows, the republicans are the establishment, you fquwacking retard. How completely stupid can two women be? Go figure it out on the back of your unemployment check. Yet,despite all this retardation, there may be several golden moments to come for me.

First, I will be much better off without cable television; I am taking in my boxes and canceling my Comcast agreement today. That’s the only way I figure to survive a stroke which I will have now that I will have to see without respite the likes of Michael Steele, one of the world’s dumbest politicians (but slick enough to escape all the egregious gaffes and blame for all the foolishly lavish expenditures for party conferences) who doesn’t have plastic hair and that reprehensible tribute to tanning-parlor-tax ever, John, the Boner, Boehner. I really can’t stand one more republican jowl swinging back and forth on my Taiwanese TV. (I will miss Sarah Palin whom I watched in the mute because she is a good-lookin-gal and has a trophy rack.) Besides, Comcast doesn’t need my money at all anymore now that it spent 5 billion to buy NBC. That purchase is a republican statement if there ever was one: 5 billion in the worst of economic times and not bad for a semi-regulated company. The scary part of giving up my addiction to cable-news is that I am bound to eat even more Good and Plenty, Whoppers, and licorice thus putting on 20 more pounds; at least, that’s what happened when I gave up my addiction to Irish whiskey and any beer that came in can, bottle, or box. Damn, choosing between stroke and obesity is rough.

Second, I am going to absolutely love observing how the tea-party-candidates become real republican at the speed of a quinquagenarian heading for the toilet after double cups of prune coffee. Of course, anyone who thinks the likes of Rubio or Paul or any other tea-party claim to victory will be much more than regular spend- but-don’t- tax-support-Wall-Street-republicans is generally disconnected from the real world just like the woman voting the straight ticket. I will also love watching republicans reduce government but create jobs, curb spending but promote war, and chop taxes but lower the deficit. Naturally, they never once addressed how they were going to do all this before the election. Give me a call on my Mexican cell phone when all this republican fixing happens. Oh yeah, it will be real cool watching the Pauls bring home the troops to no jobs.

I am not going to rant anymore,today; I have two more pieces to do at the eave of the gable and a couple of coats of paint to do before the rain tomorrow. I just don’t know about ranting anymore, at all, anyway; I can’t really get at just how fquawacking stupid all this political stuff is. As I type, some moron of a republican is crowing about this election being a refutation of Obama’s policies of big government, this from a guy who watched and agreed while Reagan and both Bushes grew the size of government, and Dumbya Bush left office with a huge deficit, an economy collapsing, and the highest unemployment in decades. Ooops, I had that right: it was a moron, Guvnah Haley Barbour of the Great State of Mississipah that sagged jawed, plastic haired, corn-pone stuffed, bourbon drinking, swamp stomping, grit chomping, pork ridden . . . .

Monday, November 1, 2010

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer | MichaelMoore.com

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer | MichaelMoore.com

Some Have Gone and Some Remain –The Beatles

Holy Sacred Cows, it is November 1 and only a day from this “Throw-em-all-Out Election.” We would do well to have elections every six months. The print media and TV folks are in the wet dreams of their lives. I have had to use a crow bar to pry the anti-Coons junk mail out of my RFD mail box. It is some very slick stuff too, high quality paper, rich, color, professional photography, graphics, very republican. And I do not have to tell you about the TV ads, goodness a veritable hurricane of money blowing in from both sides. And holy calculators, what dandy dinero (Hey, now, if Karl Rove can use Spanish on FuxNews. . .) the polling companies have made; just imagine the depression that will hit when it is all over tomorrow evening. Oh, the pollsters never stop; after all where would we be without them? While I am genuinely happy for The Economy that there is an election happening tomorrow, I am beyond glad, though, that time is flying along at, well the speed of time and in the blink of a newt’s eye, all this overt political insanity will be over.

I just can’t take the moronity of it any more, I just can’t. This morning, fist thing, while I was sipping my latte, nibbling at an organic scone, and flipping through the channels ever eager to see who is ahead in Colorado, some woman from Maryland (I am guessing she’s from the Free State because she had an “Ehrlich for Gov” sticker pasted just above her heart and right next to a brooch with enough diamonds in it to buy every kid in Ethiopia a Big Mac for a year) is being interviewed about how she is a “senior” and afraid because of the czars in Washington and how the communist are in the White House, no shit, that's a quote. She allowed as she was so scared she had donated 3000 dollars to someone or another so that they could win and she could sleep better of nights. I am happy for her; I never had close to 3000 dollars to donate to any political hack no matter the brand; somehow, I figure she probably won’t have to go on free cheese either to compensate for the three grand outlay. Gawd, please end it soon.

Then there’s all the marijuana smoke about Harry Reid’s getting the boot out there in Nevada which in itself doesn’t bother me a bit because I do not vote out there. But come on, does it really make sense to bump ol’ Harry out for a woman who refuses to discuss her political agenda with the press? I know that some think the press is all, except for FUX, in bed with the liberals and that you can’t count on the press to tell a bit of truth. But, really can you vote for anyone who wants a public office that won’t speak to the public except by messenger pigeon or though slick, 6 X 11 glossy ads? How are the Nevadans supposed to get to know Ms. Angle’s politics when the bulk of her time is spent figuring out which corridor to use to race away from the inquiring press? Sacred 1000 dollar Mirage chips, what’s that all about? I guess it doesn’t matter; ol’ Harry is so reviled out there that any snake charmer could probably beat him. It is a bit scary though because then Ms. Angle will be Senator Angle and making all sorts of decisions that affect me, like dumping Medicare, dropping Social Security, converting everyone to Asian; I just don’t know.

And, what’s up in the Key Stone State? You got Pat Toomey ahead of Joe Sestak. Is that about throwing them all out? Again, I do not live in Pennsylvania and generally avoid even visiting there, but I can’t figure that one out either. Toomey is a politician isn’t he, still, even though he did get out of the House, as he promised, to run for Senate? And didn’t Toomey make a living from Big Banking which I thought everyone was pissed with? And did he not spend four more tough years as president of some 501 c corporation and political action committee? (Makes me wonder if there aren’t some really good bucks just in prepping to run for office.) Toomey does get an A from the NRA and wants to ban all sorts of stuff concerning same sex stuff. But really, for the sake of all you patriots, Sestak is a dammed retired admiral, 30 year veteran, selected to advise the Chief of Naval operations after 9/11, he was a weapons officer, had command of a missile frigate, and the commander of a destroyer squadron. The polls have him behind Toomey. I thought we were for patriots, veterans, experienced managers, etc. I sit here in my pjs at 430AM wondering how the good people of Pennsylvania could pick a banker over an admiral for Senate, would rather have a banker for a senator than a guy who was in charge of a freaking frigate. Damn, that’s just bizarre.

And for Delaware: I am pulling hard for Christine because she a good looking gal and because she is exactly what this state deserves. Besides when she gets to be our senator, by law, she can have a staff of at least 26 each of who can max out at just more than 150 K, a year. Hell, Obama wouldn’t hire me, maybe good ol’ Christine will.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Can't You See That It's Impossible to Choose- Queen

Hey, there I was shuffling though email when I came across three emails from conservative friends, a poultry business executive (rtd.), an educational executive (rtd.), and a masonry contractor (hardworking still); who had, more or less, challenged me to quit writing about who I don’t like and pick some national candidates that I thought were good for the country. Really the educational expert started it, and the others jumped on board because all three think I have drunk too much liberal skunk water. Because this is such a nifty challenge, I wanted to hop right up on it, but a few disclaimers are necessary to set my rhetorical positions. First, let me say that I would rather have either one or all three representing me than anyone currently running for any office, anywhere. Second, when I engage online to match political agendas to my particular philosophies on politics and governing (in this country both are mutually exclusive as far as I can figure), I come up sure to vote for Ron Paul thus I am an out and out Libertarian. But that is a bit deceiving because if one checks that he is in favor of legalizing marijuana and for decriminalizing drug-use, I am guessing that he falls immediately in with the Libertarian crowd. I also agree with Paul’s points on our disengaging from our imperialistic policies by closing down all the US bases we maintain at great expense all over the world and by getting the hell out of two wars that have accomplished little. Both actions have to bring scads of money back home. With that said, any candidate (federal candidate implied here but the thoughts go to any level of public servant) who would run and DO the following would have my vote in a nanosecond:

1. Chunk the entire tax code and any other laws, regulations, or specifications which outline credits, deductions, and/or subsidies for individuals and businesses.
2. Devise a fair tax system whereby ALL people pay some tax no matter how small.
3. Move the federal budget into a position of solvency through a combination of sensible taxation, elimination of redundant programs, and vigorous enforcement of fraudulent activities.
4. Iterate a firm stance on whether oil and its by-product are or are not a national security problem. If our purchase of oil from countries unfriendly to our basic democratic system is a threat to our security, devise a plan to quit buying it.
5. Promote though mandate a move to renewable and inventive forms of energy plus initiate fuel conservation programs across the nation.
6. Run a campaign where no negative ads are used and use campaign ads that reveal positions and data for why the candidate should be elected.
7. Never refuse to communicate with any media. Always directly answer questions.
8. Return Social Security to solvency.
9. Reduce salaries and benefits of Congress and staff by 20 percent.
10. Eliminate all perks now enjoyed by any and all members of the government.
11. Initiate scholarships where tax dollars pay tuitions for medical, dental, and educational schools. Recipients would pay off the scholarships though an equitable term of service to the citizenry in areas where those services are desperately needed.
12. Disallow any visas to any individual from any country that supports or engages in terroristic activities. (I have yet to figure why PRMC hired doctors from Iran, Iraq, and Armenia.)
13. Firmly stop the abuse of the middle class by Wall Street, insurance companies, and medical industries.
14. Make all government employees above seventh pay grade take increasing reductions in pay and in benefits.
15. Eliminate all political appointments to positions within government with the exception of cabinet level positions but eliminate all under-secretaries of any and all things.
16. Begin a rigorous assessment program that certifies that all government employees are doing a full day’s work and are fully enforcing all regulations for which they are charged.
17. Require that all auto companies manufacture within two years safe, sound vehicles which achieve 40 miles per gallon of petroleum products with a mandate of 10 percent better fuel efficiency per five year cycle. Create personal taxes for those who own vehicles which do meet 40mpg standard.
18. Nationalize all minerals; pay companies to mine or drill but to never own the wealth of the nation.
19. Get out of the education business and leave it to the states to take care of themselves. (A tough nut this because I am guessing that states currently arrive at 20 percent of their educational budgets through federal largess.)
20. Devise a federal law that prohibits government employees from working for lobbyists for a minimum of seven years. (Companies routinely engage in anti-competition clause when they hire and it makes sense that the governments could do the same.)
21. Pass a bill that gives the President line-item vetoes in budgets.
22. Pass legislation prohibiting amendments to bills that have nothing to do with the theme of the original bills. Let earmarks come to votes on their own merits. (As far as I am concerned even though pork is a minuscule portion of the federal budget, we could do away with all of it not linked to sensible national security.)
23. Eliminate all foreign aid unless it can be certified and verified as delivered to the people who need it.
24. Disengage from Israel and quit supporting it militarily unless it will return to conditions of original treaties and agreements.
25. Reign in the power of “intelligence” agencies and make them accountable to citizens not to themselves or to a limited number of select congress. There is not a whit in the Constitution that allows the President of the United States to have covert agencies at his or his party’s beck and call.

This is a beginning for me. If you can find someone who will run on the above; I will sign on. I am as disgusted as the next guy and gal with the way our country operates. And I am most disgusted with how we have allowed our public servants be controlled by the financial institutions and corporations who have an ethic of profit before country. It is totally ludicrous that we suspect a business will regulate itself; humans do a poor job of that; greedy humans less of a job. Additionally, we have to find candidates who will come to grips with the costs of prisons, insurances, and illegal immigration. We have to have plans to deal with all at once, not when they reach “critical mass” (all are there right now).

Finally, I am not sure that as long as it takes huge amounts of money to capture an office that we will ever be able to vote for candidates that are not beholding to one special interest group or another, yet I know quite a few folks who are bright enough and honest enough to do a far better job than any presently on the job. When we get a chance to vote for folks like them, I will quit bitching.

Now, I am off for a really cheap cigar, some bourbon and skunk water, and USDA free-cheese-sandwich.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Witchy Women- What I Do on Rainy Wednesdays

Let me see if I can get my short, mental arms around some of the “stuff” of current politics to examine and to understand a couple of republicans running for office.

Take Meg Whitman. She has spent nearly, if by now not more than, 150 million dollars of her own bucks trying to become the governor of California. Go figure: yesterday I heard an interview with her on the radio. This former CEO who was earning more than 13 million (I am assuming she is nowhere near broke despite the expense of the campaign) while running my favorite online spot, e Bay, admitted to and apologized for having a miserable voting record. That is she could not remember how many times she had voted as a California citizen since 1979 ( zero according to The Sacramento Bee). She claims she was just too busy with her children to be much bothered with civic privilege. Dang, being busy with them babies sure can be time consuming. Despite her tortured work schedule and baby-keeping, she had a domestic or two to “hep out a bit.” And so it goes with another politician hiring at least one illegal alien. Go figure, again: a CEO who ran a huge online company, trained in math and physics at Princeton, earned an MBA at Haahvahd, could not drum up the intellectual wherewithal to validate if a worker had legal documents and then ignored a letter from the Social Security Administration that warned that the number used by the worker did not match her name. Whitman’s comment during her interview was that the employee was a wonderful worker but that in California it is illegal to hire undocumented workers (you think, Meg?), so she had to fire her. Whitman went on to claim that all this alien-negativity was really a political stunt pulled by her opponent. In addition to employing an illegal, as a republican candidate it doesn’t hurt her a bit that she was on the board of Goldman Sachs during the time of Hank Paulson’s ceo-ship and that she was the beneficiary of what you and I would call insider trading but due to a loophole in the codes is fondly known as “spinning,” a nifty benefit whereby insiders get special deals on initial public offerings of stock before the public can buy the new securities. Plus, before she moved on out of e Bay, despite the company’s stock’s declining, her salary had gone from 2 million to 13 million give or take change;she had agreed to give back around a million to the company for personal use of its private jet; and she was tapped as one of America’s Most Powerful Women. Gotta love her!

Take Carly Fiorina. Another super-woman-republican, Fiorina is very much like Whitman. First, she has spent gobs of her own money funding her campaign. Second, she did not exercise her right to vote much at all, spotty in California, never, while living in New Jersey and never-registered, while she lived in Maryland. Her response to criticism of her failure to vote was that she was a life-long republican, that people die fighting to get a right to vote, that she didn’t vote, and shame on her. At least she did not blame her step-daughters. Like Whitman she has a meteoric corporate profile: she hired onto A T &T, became an executive, and when the company decided to spin off its very profitable equipment making company, she became CEO of Lucent Technologies and then onto Hewlett Packard. Plus she was ranked right along with Meg Whitman by Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Most Powerful Women. Of course, while she was accelerating her career, it was the time of the fast, slippery, loose, where over-leveraging of technology companies (akin in gross malpractice to the over-leveraging of the mortgage/securities companies from which we suffer as I type) was commonplace and where, too, CEOs could be rewarded very handsomely by escalating revenues. So, Lucent in order to show revenue growth began lending money to companies who wanted to buy Lucent’s products. Get it? I will lend you a couple 100 million if you will spend it in my store and when you get rich off reselling my stuff, you can pay me back. With that scam in place, Lucent showed a gonezillion increase in revenue growth; its stock went up; Fiorina’s worth went up, proportionally. (That's how to become one of America’s Most Powerful Women.) Then, Fiorina boogied to Hewlett Packard (HP). When she left Lucent, she left about 85 million worth of stock options on the table, but HP gave her 65 million of its stock to replace the Lucent-package. And was she NOT lucky? Seemingly she lost 25 million to go to work for HP; however, not long after she fled, the bubble burst, Lucent-stock fell because of its burdensome debt, to about a dollar, and that was that. She done good at HP, made a lot of money for herself and the company while laying-off more than 30, 000 employees, and got laid-off herself but left with a substantial bundle of money on her back. Gotta love her, too. Plus, as Pat Buchannan says, “She’s a good lookin’ gal with lots of appeal.”

“Two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done,” chortled Whitman when she and Fiorina won their party’s nominations. When I read this, I knew I was onto an understanding of republicans: they use code! Like, creating jobs is republican code for laying-off tens of thousands of US workers. Balancing budgets is code for dump workers and shift a good hunk of payroll/benefit-savings over into MY bonus package or fly around on stock-holders’ expense conducting personal business. Get-things-done is code for hire an illegal to do it, code for never voting, code for getting-out-of-Dodge before the company I over-leveraged collapses in debt.

Comprehending these two republicans turns out to be really simple: take whatever they claim, promise, or take credit for, apply the opposite meaning, and viola, the truth is revealed. And, for sure, if either of these women makes it to DC, you can bet other republicans know that she is prepared to do a fine job.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Moment with the Fuzz

I was just on the back porch, puffing on a Cubano Cheapaquisto when Fuzz, wanting out, scratched at the door. She had only two days before been to Tina, her best buddy, for grooming, and I figured that she wanted to hit the back yard to profile a little. Once again I was wrong; she wanted to chat. We commune often, rarely anymore about politics as she is pretty much fed up with the entire reality show feel of it. She’s more inclined lately to complain about not getting enough chicken, pizza-crust, or about my having Jimmy-legs of a night. Yet, this morning, after convincing me that the cigar smelled not of coffee but of old burning sock, she took-off on the politics.

Jayzus, I had to get out of the living room; you left the TV on Morning Joe and that entire crowd was making me just want to puke, and you haven’t cleaned up from the last time when John Shadegg made me barf up my morning Bonz. Do all republicans have to report to the DC-republican-stylist for their slick, silver, dye-job? Well, I guess Boner Boehner gets to do the tanning parlor as one of his perks.

Does Boone Pickens really think anyone is going to switch from foreign oil because of national security? Damn that makes too much sense when he goes on about federal vehicles being “green” and how by converting 18 wheelers to natural gas, we can get off foreign oil. Of course, he doesn’t disclose that his wife owns millions of shares of Clean Energy, a company positioned to supply fleets with natural gas. Plus the damned republicans don’t know what to do with him when he uses the word green in a sentence when it does not refer to Wall Street money. What a clown; after banking the Swift Boat attacks on Kerry, the old fool shows up in cycles expecting folks to be reasonable. I suggest he lick my ass.

And for gawds’ sakes, will someone just euthanize Pat Buchannan, already? Really, suggesting that Nigeria is a nice place from which to buy oil, dammed fool. His boner for Palin must have given him a frontal lobotomy. Besides, what the hell did he ever really do to get where he is? Write crap and lies for Richard Nixon, the worst President in the World, and foist himself off as some sort of conservative while supporting for years the republican spending machine. What a goober; let’s capture him, lock him in the larger wire-kennel, feed him okra and grits to see if that brings the old fool around. Too bad there are not death squads; he is my nominee for the first. And, speaking of this old hard-on, he is IN love with Christine O’Donnell, LMAO, roll over, and play dead. It just doesn’t get any better for a dumb dog. I would vote for her as dog catcher if you get my thinking.

And the clips of Obama out stumping for his party, pulllease! What a natural born coward he is. Oh sure, he is a heckofasight better than John McCain (and oh horrors can you just imagine Sarah Palin in the White House right now solving problems of debt, war, education?)But really despite being hamstrung by his own fool-party and a bunch of do-nothing-republicans, there’s a bunch he could have done from the bully pulpit, or in his case, the bull shit pulpit. First, he could have frozen the assets of all the investment banks we bailed out until we were positive that they had changed their stripes which of course they didn’t and won’t until someone has the temerity to stop their rape of the US by holding them to regulations already in place and by placing a special “we-saved-your-asses” tax on the whole bunch. And he could have lived up to his promise to the homos and written an executive order pulling DADT right on out as a military policy. Either you humans have civil rights or you don’t, right? And now his justice department is challenging that nice judge’s order to stop it. All because there is an election, right? What a piss-Willie he is turning out to be. He sure could have cheered you all up by mandating across the board federal salary cuts, cuts in congressional salaries, and a dumping of all the wasteful perks up there on the Hill as you guys call I, more like a dung heap if you ask me. All this stuff would end up in the courts but so what? It would make you feel better right? And he could go a long way by stirring up an impeachment process for the fools on the Supreme Court who allowed that a corporation is entitled to the Constitutional rights of an individual. Gawd, even a dog knows that is dumb and now what have you boys and girls got? Political action committees dumping all sorts of money into negative campaign ads, promoting fear, hate, and misinformation, yet you can’t even find out who is contributing, what they have to gain, where they are from, nothing. And I could have just take a dump on that Karl Rove’s head when, after he was asked how much foreign money is coming into those unregulated PACS, that child-molesting-pervert, on FUX news, holds up, a la G. Beck, a sheet of paper with “Nada” scribbled on it. First, I can’t find myself believing one word he says and second, isn’t he one of those republicans or whatevers who want only English used in this country? Naturally, his viewers probably think nada is Merican, short for “not a damn answer.”

And you, you bozo, I could care less if you rot your tongue off smoking those damned cigars, but if you ever leave me trapped in there with the infernal TV stuck on Morning Joe,- more like Moron Joe, if you get my drift- I swear I will get even and you know how. Right? Leave me in there alone but only if re-runs of Lassie or Rin Tin Tin is showing. They are some dogs I can tolerate.

Monday, September 27, 2010

We Don’t Need No Education

Unfortunately, cable and network stations have been on a run, presenting the EDUCATIONAL PROBLEM that faces America. And if you like, as I do, to watch MSNBC (sorry, Dan, no FUXNEWS for me) to get really pissed off with politicians or with the hosts of the show Mika, Joe Bellino Calves, Brzezninski, Willie, My Dad Got Me This Job, Geist, or Joe, When I Was in Congress, Scarborough, any of the scurrilous republicans who come on to present their non-ideas, or the occasional know-nothing democrats, you have seen a parade of educational big wheels, like Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, who the best I can figure never spent one minute as a full time teacher in a public school, Joel Klein, New York’s Chancellor of Schools, who the best I can figure never taught one second in a public school, beginning his work career as a law clerk and then starting his own firm, and Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, who is all of 41 years old, spent 3 years teaching in Teach for America (which advertises being a source of well-trained teachers {Rhee was trained as a government wannabe not as a teacher} and gives bonuses of 5300 dollars for each year served beyond pay and benefits), has her BA in government, Cornell, her MA in public policy, Harvard, and a salary of 275K. No shit, our national educational leader and the leaders of two major cities, have a combined teaching history of 3 fucking years. And they are on news telling me how public education ought to be. In all this conversation, which of course is politically motivated due to upcoming elections (politicians really don't care a whit about public education or it would not be in the mess it is in), there are themes that seem to be pressed by the likes of Scarborough: teachers’ unions are to be blamed for poor education for supporting tenure and not supporting performance bonuses; and Duncan: teacher-evaluation should be linked to student achievement thus national, single-test assessment is necessary and valid. Both theories are spurious and both Scarborough and Duncan exhibit an abyss of ignorance about public education.

The point about teachers’ unions is not quite as simple as the simple-minded Scarborough wants to make it. As far as I am concerned an organization is not a union unless it has a right to strike. According to the Alleghany Institute for Public Policy’s white paper, thirty-seven states have laws which prohibit teachers from striking. Plus strikes by teachers have steadily decreased since 1975 and Pennsylvania accounts for sixty percent of all strikes in the nation. There are two major teachers’ professional organizations in the United States: the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) which arguably represents mostly teachers in urban areas in states where strikes are permitted and the National Education Association of Teachers (NEA) which is represented in all 50 states. Fundamentally, both groups are lobbyists for the millions of teachers who go to work every day. Both groups provide as part of their dues liability insurance and legal representation. In the two states in which I worked, the NEA was the main association, and it was a pure lobbying group and a main provider of legal assistance for teachers enduring contract disputes, wrongful firings, and or liability actions. But in neither state is the NEA a union. In neither state do teachers have any rights to increase benefits, pay, or working conditions. Those powers are vested solely in the state, county, or local boards. In effect, and for nearly 30 years that was my experience, teachers assemble bargaining teams from their ranks and go in supplication for benefits, raises, or improved job conditions. I was on about a dozen negotiation teams during my time as a professional and at no time did I find a board’s team willing to say that their teachers were doing an excellent job and therefore, deserved a sizable increase in salary or benefits. At the state levels, where I did not negotiate, similar bargaining occurred with similar attitudes. In Maryland and in Delaware the entire power to fund and to determine work place environment rests in the hands of appointed boards, in the former state, and in elected boards in the latter. I was always on record as being opposed to striking even if law permitted it. (What a schmuck I was; states with right to strike have higher salaries across the board than most states which do not). However, -empty-headed Scarborough’s main shtick is that unions are to blame for all the ills in public education because their tenure-policies hurt really great younger teachers from working great things in the classroom in favor of legions of older, lazy, tenured teachers. I got news: tenure-programs are not perfect. What is? Tenure-programs DO protect good teachers from being terminated for political reasons and from being fired because districts can plop inexperienced teachers in classrooms for far less money. To Scarborough's silly supposition that young, fantastic teachers are being denied jobs by unions: one learns to teach by getting the fundamentals of teaching from a good undergraduate program, from years of experience, and from meaningful graduate work and well-planned, germane seminars and training sessions, and by letting the art of teaching happen. Yes, I suppose there are lazy teachers; why not, there are lazy doctors, lazy lawyers, and lazy politicians (who lazily make way more money). But I will assert that what I saw in my last five years of teaching was that the older teachers had by far, by way far, better work ethic than the new guys and gals coming into the profession.

OK, let me write about state testing: what a fucking joke and what a waste of tax dollars. Duncan and his ilk want to link teacher-evaluation to student performance. In fact, this morning, he claimed that many states used to have laws that teachers’ evaluations could NOT be linked to student evaluations then bragged that NO states today had such laws on the books. I am not going to bother to research the law issue because all this air about assessment-driven-instruction, assessment-based-instruction, and assessment-based-teacher- evaluation is ONE huge pile of horse-shit. First, let’s not forget that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a brain-fart of that mental giant, George W. Bush, whose first Secretary of Education was a fellow Texan, and school superintendent who was guilty of cooking the books so that his city would appear to be improving its test-scores when it actually was not. Second, NCLB was a series of unfunded mandates from the federal government lead by republicans who preach states’ rights and smaller federal government (OH! THE HYPOCRISY). Third, NO assessment expert or company will admit and most deny that ANY single test can measure the worth of a student. Fourth, with school-districts’ populations constantly shifting, very often the tests do NOT measure the same children twice in a row. Get it? For a fact, in many districts, especially the poorer ones, the shifts in enrollment are so drastic as to be statistically significant in apprehending the results of that test. Fifth, no law exists to my knowledge, that holds parents responsible for their children’s’ behaviors, study-habits, nutrition, work ethic, and/or school supplies. How in the hell can a reasonable person begin to suppose that a teacher can be held accountable for or evaluated on how well a student performs on a single test? Yet, every year, all states are required to give such tests, report them to the federal government, spend countless hours disaggregating data, spend scads of money bussing students to summer schools and paying teachers to pump them up for the next test. And today, we have a moron, Arne Duncan, never a teacher, insisting that teachers’ evaluations should be linked to student-test-scores; Joel Klein, never a teacher, bragging about how charter schools are improving NYC’s educational picture but not telling that in those charters students are hand-picked and that the average student to teacher ratio is 13 to 1; Michelle Rhee educated in government, three years a pretend teacher, who, despite data proving otherwise, wanted to link monetary bonuses for teachers to how well that teacher’s students did on a single test. If you can’t see what’s wrong with all this, then you are a phony, conservative, small-government republican or a piss-in-your-pants democrat.

I will tell you, one more time, how to fix all this. Get laws passed that require all elected officials, including school board members, to take their state’s achievement tests and report their scores locally and nationally (OH! PLEASE, IMAGINE SARAH PALIN’S SCORES). You will then know for sure why all government is so absolutely fquwacked-up.
Here’s a challenge for next time: how much of your local, public school budget is paid for by federal dollars?

http://www.stopteacherstrikes.org/AlleghenyInstitute.pdf
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/
http://www.betterhighschools.org/pubs/documents/NCLBandHighSchoolsFactSheet_081806.pdf

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