Jim's BLOG - 2006
To : Marshalltown Commentary
Current and Prior Blogs
Complains about snow at baseball games. Baseball is supposed
to be a summer sport. The money hungry industry
has extended the season, what do they expect?.
As the Spanish-speaking people of the US increase demand
that public facilities like hospitals, courthouses, schools, etc. - be staffed by people who speak Spanish, the English speaking Americans are going to be shut out of a large part of their own economy -- which will be taken over by others. English is our language, make it official or lose jobs.
Grace with Efficiency
I always square-up building designs when architects present many
offsets. Consider that the same amount of exterior wall is required to
make either an inward or outward square ; the amount of roof is the same ; you gain of
space is at no cost. Heat/cooling surfaces are the same. Foundation is the same, but dig a
bigger hole and gain more basement for the same amount of concrete wall.
Architectural appearance is too often counter to efficiency. (Can you imagine the
trouble I had as an architectural engineering student -- I wanted to build soundly,
they wanted a visual experience?) Engineering can have grace ; it may take a little thought,
but there is no need
to sacrifice efficiency for art.
On a slow news-day, set up a camera, dump
a trashcan, set it afire and have a bunch of street people
shout into the camera, "We demand an apology !" or, perhaps, "We demand our rights."
It doesn't make much difference where, when, who, and certainly not why.
The newsman fills in the details on the issue of the day.
Quick way to Stop Listening
Abu Ghraib prison was the story of a sergeant on the night shift amusing himself by abusing prisoners with high school varsity club-like antics.
Anyone, nay everyone, who cites Abu Grave as an example of American abuse of power is a fool or has a agenda for which he is willing to lie. Either way, we can stop listening.
What is the point?
A fellow who I email with submitted this story of a public hearing.
After everybody got through talking, I asked one question, "What kind of
judge would Sam King make?"
It makes no difference what administration, the principle is the same.
They all told me he would make a good judge,
but they said that was not the point.
I asked, "What is the point?" Aren't
we talking about whether the person is qualified?"
Finally one of the senators responded: "No, this is politics. If we stick
together, we can really embarrass the Administration."
There is a lot of talk about Article 3 -- Treatment of non-combatants.
Are irregular/terrorists non-combatants deserving of the same consideration as woman and children?
Please consider Article 4. for the requirements to be considered a non-combatant.
Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of
organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or
outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias
or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfill the following conditions:
(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
Conclusion : Discussion of Article 3 rights is negated by Article 4. responsibilities.
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Bombing cells has no leadership agreeing to civilized behavior.
"Sign" means a uniform, minimally a visible armband with an emblem
"Bombs" are not carried openly.
Beheadings are not in accordance to laws.
Terrorists have no rights under international law and may be summarily executed. Discussion of Constitutional rights are ridiculous.
Re-edit of ABC Drama
Everybody would like to be portrayed favorably in media.
Can you imagine if President Bush were allowed to pre-screen and make changes to a Michael Moore film? Is it appropriate for President Clinton to demand removal of
mention of the offer to arrest bin Laden by Sudan or to not let CIA assassinate him in Afghanistan?
Political/press sensationalism can and does interfere with decisions of state. The obsession with Clinton's sex life and other personal scandals and the dozen of attacks on Bush take leadership time from serious business. The intent of the opposition party is to weaken the other's President. Is this good ?
Have you noticed the press is always reporting the "space launch is delayed again." I think I know why. Reporters have the launches on their schedule ; some travel to the site, make reservations, etc. Therefore, a delay is a personal problem to them. Rather than describing progress or mission goals, the report is based on being inconvenienced. They also like to take shots at any non-social projects, but that is a different story, again based on personal interests.
The solar system contains eight planets, an asteroid belt, and a Kuiper belt. What is so difficult about this?
Activate the Buses
Politicians in discussing the illegals problem continually say, "We can't send twelve million people out of the country." Why ? Greyhound makes the 1,700 miles from Chicago to Mexico City in two days. A fleet of a thousand school buses would take about eight months. Problem solved.
One group wants more jobs and benefits for union workers and another is waving Mexican flags demanding "their right" to jobs and benefits. There are 7.2 million unemployed ; there are 12 million illegal residents, last I heard, it increases daily. You do the math.
Saved by Relocation
How come one never hears appreciation for saving the enemy aliens in World War Two. They were relocated from the combat zone and protected from
civil violence. Granted that war is a bad thing and so it civil violence, but saving the lives
of the enemy within is pretty good hearted.
A talk by woman who was relocated as a teen was enlightening. I was prepared for the typical, sinful American story, but hers was of attending collage and graduation as a nurse at government expense during the rescue operation. She was there and appreciative ; the anti-Americans are Americans.
Chicago had a fire, San Francisco had an earthquake, Galveston had a hurricane -- all rebuilt without federal aid. Why? Location. If commercial interests, insurance, and real estate developers are not interested in rebuilding a city, there must be a reason.
Perhaps it is below water level. That sounds like a good reason not to
sink taxpayer money into something that others know is a bad location.
Slavery of Whites
The final Spanish conquest of Granada set the stage; by expelling the Moors from southern Spain; Ferdinand and Isabella created an implacable enemy, one that would find a new home in the Islamic societies they helped to create. They soon set out, consciously and passionately, to square accounts with Christendom, building galleys, attacking European merchant shipping, raiding coastal communities, and taking slaves. -- "Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters, 1500-1800" by Robert C. Davis. How many? About a million.
The young United States declared, "Millions of defense, not one cent for tribute," and Jefferson set upon the Barbary Coast in 1801 with frigates and marines. Read about the Barbary Wars. Th. J. was able to sign a law banning the importation of slaves in 1807.
Sure, raise the minimum wage. Encourage more immigration. I haven't
been able to hire a kid to mow my lawn since they instituted paying Social Security for
Why are taxpayers building housing below sea level? Is it because government wants to appear compassionate? They are sinking our money ; governments have no cash of their own.
Exactly is a word the press seems to love.
I specially like the news-chick that rushes up to the fire chief, after combing her hair, looks into the camera and says, "There was just an explosion here and flames are devastating this area." Then, turns to
the fireman and asks, "What, exactly, happened here?
Then, thrusts a microphone into the face of a mother who sees
her child, face covered, being carried from the scene and demands,
"How, exactly, do you feel about this?"
I think "exactly" must mean, "I am a dope, please say something that will make me look good."
Unmanned Truck is being tested by the Army for duty in Iraq. This is the one that came in fifth in Grand Challenge last October. The thing is, it is THE big truck, 16.5 ton, 10-wheel drive, already used in Iraq, not an SUV or Volkswagen that took top places in the Challenge. To it is being added an unmanned Palletized Load System to be completed by December 2006. Lets hope adding the bells and whistles doesn't delay delivery ; seems like the unloading device could be added later, if needed, and we could go with saving lives now. Drivers are being blown up while on the road, not at either end of the trip where they are protected by soldiers. If soldiers are not there and able to protect the unloading, there is no reason for the truck to have gone there.
The Urban Challenge will be in Nov'07. This will be for unmanned city driving. There will be a lot of interest because the Army acted so quickly in going with the first ones. Very proper that they do, too.
There is a spectrum of anti-semitism -- at one end is
distrust of Jews, be it as Christ-killers or as persons without assimilation into local society. At the other end is Zionism, which is belief that Jews should rule the world, be it from belief that the world was given to the chosen people or as the group of Christ's birth. However, to call a person a Zionist is anti-semitic. Therefore, the only definition of anti-semitism seems to be statements that fail to support Zionism. By the way, truth or legitimate statements of opinion have no bearing on the issue, all such are anti-semitic. Consider Mel Gibson's observation that "early after WW2, the number of Jews killed was reported to be 12 million, then 8 million, more recently 4 million; the only thing we know is that many people died in prison camps and many of them were Jews." This simple statement of fact, not being
supportive of the special place of Zionists, is considered to be anti-semitic. Fascinating.
If a drunk was stopped by a Hispanic cop, he might say "Your Mexican food give people gas." Would the press have been so excited as when
he was stopped by a Hebrew-American? The issue is drunk driving, not ranting.
There is a little bit of the U.S. that sticks north of the 49 parallel into Canada at Lake of the Woods; this is an error by the commission that set the border.
There is another error, Maine follows
the St. John River, but another commission misplaced the line from the center of the river. Both could be easily traded: just swap 123 sq. miles isolated from Minnesota and move the 75 mile eastern border of Maine about a mile and a half to the river. This would regularize two anomalies.
The tribes of Arabs and Jews each claim descendancy from Abraham,
being founded by his sons who were step brothers. It is generally a bad idea for an
outsider to get involved in another's family feud. Why is the U.S. involved
with a civil war among Semite tribes. The Iranians, non-Semites, are arming one side
with missiles ; the U.S. is arming the other with bombs. Perhaps it will let the most militant
of each tribe kill each other off so that the feud will die out.
Our commitment to honoring your preferences, says my credit card issuer.
We will give information about you (sell) to:
If you request that we do not give out your information, we will only give it to:
- Financial services companies
- Non-financial companies
- Other companies and nonprofit organizations.
I could tell you this is a Visa card by Bank of America, but all are about
the same. They have information about you and it is for sale in the market place.
- Credit reporting companies and legal processes.
- Companies you do business with.
- Companies we do business with.
- Anyone permitted by law. Nothing is prohibited by law.
- If you cancel your card, all of your information is for sale.
Two news stories that should be correlated but aren't by the press, yet.
1. The US is in WW3 and should acknowledge it.
Ike and Ronnie each avoided a sure war with communism for 60 years through non-violent means, one with mutual assured destruction, the other by outspending on military. There may be ways to void the catastrophe of a new World War. Lets hope for wise leaders.
2. The US (and all western countries) are going bankrupt, defined as
unable to pay obligations to present and current debtors.
War will mean throwing economic resources into the deserts just as we have into jungles in the past.
It may also mean survival of our culture, the only justifiable reason to go to war.
(I consider WW3 to have been the two-front war with Communist expansion and Japanese economic conquest. Each of those threats self-destructed, guided by skillful presidents.)
The news opens this week with reports of number killed
in Haifa, followed by retaliatory raids on Lebanon as if this were cause and effect. Whereas the truth is that Israeli bombing attacks killing dozens each day have brought out every resistance by Hezbollah. Both Lebanon and Hezbollah are weak in comparison to the US equipped (at no charge) Israeli who were looking for an excuse to attack into the fragile democracy of Lebanon.
Polls are Proof of
Polls continually show the incompetence of school kids and graduates in geography, current events, etc. Why then do the media and political parties place so much credence in polls?
If the human rights law says to release terrorists prisoners. The solution is to not take terrorist prisoners.
NRP says the World is Bad, over and over.
National Public Radio must tell us the world is
bad every ten minutes. Example: Warren Buffet is giving $30 Billion to
charity. Good, right? No, it seems his dead wife had supported Planned Parenthood and Warren continues that support in her memory.
I turn off NPR for a week at a time, then get tired of commercials
and let NPR spread gloom for an hour until I start to feel bad at being a human that gets too bad, again.
Missile over Japan
If our government feels the need to bash North Korea,
then fine. But one issue is misleading. To test long range missiles
into the Pacific Ocean, Korea must launch over the Sea of Japan. The islands of Japan block a clear shot to the Pacific. After a missile lifts over the Sea of Japan, about 700 miles, it is in outer space. How high does national sovereignty reign? Common practice says it is as far as can be defended. (The three mile limit is the distance a canon could throw an iron ball.) If fear of falling pieces is a real concern, then satellites of all nations would be banded.
Fat and Online
Playgrounds no longer have interesting equipment
that they used to -- too dangerous. And contact sports are not allowed on playgrounds. Where else to achieve any stimulation but the computer. Hence fat and online. Blame schools afraid of lawsuits.
N. Korean Missile
If we cannot shoot down the test missile with advanced warning, then shame on us.
Next Day : The President must read this blog; today he activated the
Reagan "Star Wars" missile defense system Although I had in mind sending a
cruiser. A ship borne missile had been successfully tested a couple of years ago. Hope the tests were honest and missiles procured.
The Day After :
The Navy today has waved the flag with another successful test of the cruiser borne missile. Evidently it is not in service yet. I guess
we are screwed. What about the satellite borne laser weapon?
I run an early WW2 web site that includes the editorial theme that war is a
"come as you are party". You use what you have, not what may come in the future. Only four of eleven battleships authorized before Pearl Harbor were completed in time to see service in that war.
Licence of the Press
The press has a history of outright bias dating to the founding of our
nation, so we should not be overly concerned when we see and hear it today. The nation survived then and it may survive now. Does repeated presentation of a point of view have any impact on the
nation? Well, a lot of money is spend in advertising, so businessmen think repeating their
position works. Was the press fair in my youth or can the innocent just not recognize propaganda?
". . . killed, including women and children."
Where does it say that young men are okay?
Errors in 'Da Vinci' Code
There is an error in the book (the movie has not been released yet). It was not three black Mercedes with special police that raced past. There were only two cars with police; the third was a dark blue car driven by a civilian following to see what was the excitement.
Opps, it is fiction.
Is Gas Political ?
News today says, Gas price could be 75 cents cheaper after Labor Day.
This will be in time for midterm elections, giving the lie to prices being free market.
Baby Boom Economics
We think of the Baby Boom Generation in terms of their being about to enter retirement. But they are actually in their peak earnings period right how. This is an "economic bubble moving through the economy."
Implications. Tax spending based on this boom-bubble will suddenly
turn from income to outgo when they move from taxpayer to social security.
We had better stop spending now !
Dear Senator Grassley,
Please expel illegal immigrants.
Make a ruling that those expelled will be
recorded as criminals and their criminal
record will work against them on future
application for reentry. This should cause
many to leave voluntarily so they can later
make proper application.
Those that do not leave, but are captured,
lockup for weeks while reviewing their
status and expel those not eligible for
sanctuary -- just like all other persons
from around the world.
The response from Sen Graseley's office
Prefix required - please back up and resubmit
May Day Demonstration .
The purpose of the demonstrations is to show how much we depend upon illegal immigration.
- Count the number of jobs that should be available for Americans.
- Count the number of students for whom we are paying. (Don't forget the niņos that drive up hospital costs.)
- Consider the nation's risk of a lawless core without loyalty among us.
- Where is the immigration service with handcuffs?
Conservative Talk Radio
I used to think Rush was a wimp. Then we got Shawn and Tony. Shawn is obnoxious and Tony can be downright silly. Iowa's Jan could replace Tony, but none can beat Paul Harvey. Or some of Rush's substitutes.
Later: now we know why Tony took such anti-populist stands; he was qualifying himself for the chief federal spokesman's job.
Lets simplify and assume that your cost of gasoline is made up of the cost of a barrel of oil, the cost to convert it, and profit. Assume that the cost to covert raw oil to gasoline is a fixed. Actually the cost to build a refinery and buy trucks costs millions, so the first gallon of gasoline costs a million dollars and the last gallon costs nothing. Accountants average these costs, but the principle is real. Accountants set the price of profit as a percent of costs. When the price of oil goes up, the profit automatically goes up. Why? No business or management value is added, just the international price of oil. The gasoline buyer must pay the higher price for oil, but other expenses are fixed. The accountants should determine a new price for gas that does not include this windfall -- because the fixed costs do not change.
Company officers are paid bonuses because of this windfall. They are not about to tell the accountants to change their prices to reflect real costs.
As much as government interference is distasteful, it is necessary in the short term until the accounting societies set rules for handling of undeserved windfall profits and protect the public with new "generally accepted accounting practices"
We see health care as a civil right just as we see access to education as a civil right
Critics also say that there is no evidence that illegal immigrants are pretending to be citizens in order to obtain benefits. It is impossible to pinpoint the extent of Medicaid fraud by illegal immigrants because of the current policy of allowing people to self-identify as citizens without proof. Illegal immigrants are costing Georgia anywhere from $100 million to $700 million a year. Such costs hurt the poorest U.S. citizens who have to be dropped off Medicaid because of the rising costs of fraud.
"When you don't ask any questions, you don't keep any records. So therefore, you have no statistics to prove it,"
-- from Cox News Service, Sat, Jan 21'06
Medical Privacy Act.
Recognition that insurance companies and corporations are an affront to privacy caused our government has passed a Medical Privacy law that keeps your sister-in-law from finding out how well you survived an operation, but the
complete set of data and even the doctor's notes remain available to insurers and corporations. Feel better?
Here is a cute email tagline that tells the truth.
"Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't."
It just doesn't say that they will be doing that plowing as slaves.
Stupid statement of the day
"Police do not have time to arrest illegals." Yet, they can give out parking tickets?
Desire to Work
Millions of people in the world desire to work in the U.S. "to improve themselves." Some will
work for less money than Mexicans and do jobs that "Americans don't want to do" at minimum wage. Should we import the most retched refuse from these countries to give them the opportunity for a decent life?
They will work for less money than Mexicans; allow them an infinitely better life while we will revel in our increased diversity. They will learn democracy while retaining their languages and customs, improve their health, education, and security. We can send ships for them right away.
* NYT Almanac 2002
|United States $||31,910|
|Darfur|| ~ 0|
The surviving nations of a real Pandemic will have greater influence
than those most devastated. The US with its greater sanitation and nutrition has a
head start, don't blow it.
A social worker called a radio show to counter the presumption that "illegals" impose a welfare cost on the taxpayer with a carefully worded statement that illegals are "not eligible" to a list of welfare benefit programs.
However, the Department of Human Resources in my state equally carefully does
not ask the citizenship status of recipients.
We all love the tradition of the yeoman farmer, the foundation of our nation.
The family that clears the land by sweat and determination overcomes the vacillations of nature and voracious lenders.
Self sufficient, not putting a burden upon the rest of society, in fact,
becoming the proud few providing food for the many.
Our nation has depended upon rural youth in provided our fighting troops for many generations -- able to live with nature, having the strength to endure, and the ability to shoot.*
This discussion is a continuation of an earlier discussion of the estate tax. Taxation may cause the breakup of a family farm and prevent the creation of a landed aristocracy.
A concern is the loss of the tradition of the yeoman farmer, because, in practice the unearned land might be bought by corporations and diminish the domain of yeoman farmer.
The myth is that the yeoman farmer is a better custodian of land. Facts are that there was once 26 inches of fertile topsoil in Iowa. This has been reduced to just four inches today. Almost two feet of food producing land has been squandered in 150 years by private farmers.
This leads to a separate issue of who can own land and tend it for the common good?
Is, in fact, land a public resource for the common good or is it a private chattel and a fundamental necessity for the working of free enterprise ?
P.S. The next Army may be by those soldiers best able to maneuver a joystick.
Happy at Home
A legal immigrant from Mexico called a radio show and said that
if immigration to the US was prohibitive, then people would say at home and be happy.
The radio personality completely missed the point by saying he did not believe people could ever be happy in poor and corrupt Mexico.
The caller's point was that if migration to the US were not a possibility, than people would get on with their lives where they are. I suspect if the
more active people who leave Mexico had stayed home, they would be the people most inclined to make improvements in the government of that poor and corrupt country. Our lax border policy perpetuates the unhappy conditions of Mexico.
Last weekend had marches for immigrants that flew Mexican flags.
This week they are wrapped in American flags singing God Bless America. This shows the hypocrisy of the actions ;
the initial action shows the true state of loyalty.
The once Fertile Crescent of the ancients is now desert waste. The fertility that allowed ancient Greece is gone, too. The growing of crops and rising of animals with consideration of immediate needs has destroyed resources from previously rich areas of our planet. The world continues to revolve and people led their lives without that crop land.. It is a shame this fertility was loss, but can we blame a sweating farmer of two thousand years ago for not practicing good conservation techniques? The same is true of the farmer over the last two hundred years. Corporate farming is an issue closely related to government regulation -- neither subject with which am I totally comfortable. Our example of enterprise directed for the benefit of all the people -- the five year plans of communism -- have proven to be failures. Whereas free enterprise works. Where does farming and regulation fit into the story of mankind? We can have no faith that man can plan the future (one man's ideal is another man's tyranny). History is an interesting subject that follows along with a record of what has happened, viewed thru the eyes of people who were not there.
The American Way.
Gasoline prices up 10 cents overnight; forecasted another 30c over spring
and up a dollar over last summer. Yesterday the President reiterated pre-emptive intent, so may shut off Iran's oil by striking nuclear plants there or N.Korea.
I feel like we are re-living the height of the Roman Empire in creating a PAX
Americana. Except Roman taxed her colonies and conquered territories, whereas
we tax citizens to spend on the world and rebuild any damages caused before releasing
the territories with no obligations.
English is a language with a set of rules, or expectations, which make it usable.
One relates verbs and nouns. "To engineer" means to apply science to design things. The word dates to ancient days and was originally a military subject, then was applied to road building, and has expanded to many fields. The word entered English as "enginour", A person who does engineering is an engineer. A different subject. An engine is a machine that creates power to do work. The word entered English as "engin" The operator of an engine should be an enginer. An identically pronounced word has been confused and commonly adopted. The man who operates a railroad train is properly an enginer. The man who designed the machine is an engineer.
-- Jim, P.E.
Much is made of taxing the dead with a death tax,
euphemistically called an inheritance tax.
The logic is that a person works his whole life and wants to be
able to pass on his estate to the next generation. The other side
of the argument is : Who better to tax than a dead person, he is never
going to feel the loss. Neither extreme is valid.
The most popular example is the yeoman farmer who builds a successful enterprise by the sweat of this brow. All of his hard work, risk taking, and good sense have created something of value during his lifetime. The assumption is that his children have reason to inherit the family farm as the next generation. Inheritance taxes might require selling off part of the farm. The current provision is for an exclusion of two million dollars before a death/inheritance tax takes effect. Is this proper?
If the next generation had worked the farm, then they should be considered to have gradually received remunerated with parts of the farm over the years -- and paid taxes on that remuneration over the years. If the next generation had not worked the farm, then why should a person receive the ownership, tax-free while having avoided paying taxes over the years? Is this not an unearned, tax-free gift that harkens back to the age of landholder family aristocracy? The idea of future generations living by inherited title and landed estate flies in the face of the American concept of all men are created equal and have the right and freedom to become what they make of themselves, not by the accident of birth.
1 . If the person really wanted his children to have the things accumulated in his life, then he could have given them. It is the survivors that want to maximize "their" windfall.
2 . Is there a cost to society when a farm is broken up to pay taxes? This can be seen as an opportunity for children that are not born to wealth to acquire land through free enterprise, to follow the American dream, and to let the land go to those best able to management it -- and not to perpetuate a landed aristocracy.
Some Definitions found by observation.
|Government ||The dominant coercive force in a locale.|
|Move forward||Do it my way.|
|Our children||Meaningless expression to elicit approval of a bad law.|
|Schools ||A means of indoctrination of young to the thoughts of teachers.|
|Taxation ||Taking of money from some for use by others.|
|We are a rich country ||Support my hobby with your money.|
|Welfare ||A means of buying votes with others' money.|
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.
Should this not be, "Guilty, but Insane"?
Consider if these are acceptable.
Not Guilty by reason of Hatred.
Not Guilty by reason of Drugs.
Not Guilty by reason of Drunkenness.
Not Guilty by reason of Abused Childhood
Not Guilty by reason of He had what I wanted.
A gangbang is a group rape. A gangbanger is one who participated in such a group rape.
The word is now being used by some for a member of any gang as if acceptable behavior.
A member of a gang is a gangster. We have a range of expressions available. If gangster is too reflective of organized crime, then chose other words from our rich language : mobster, with a properly bad connotation, to club member which connotes polite society. There are a more than adequate number of existing alternatives for group members or individual villains without the specific sex-crime context : fiend, goon, hooligan, hoodlum, thug on one end of the spectrum, through rogue, scoundrel, scalawag, and on to imp, rascal, scamp,and you little devil. If we need to invent a new word for non-judgmental reference to the member of a gang, we can activate the very proper usage, "ganger."
Be careful about taking the recommendations of experts. They are based on the
judgments of "qualified" people, or not, and may bear no relationship to reality. For example,
the Winchester Dog Show gave the grand prize to a Bull Terrier, whereas the related
Pit Bull is outlawed as too dangerous in many communities. We know of the dangers of
judges of the performance of Olympic Skaters. Stock market recommendations are always suspect. The experts say the US needs immigrants to do jobs that North Americans don't want to do. If we add words, "at the wages offered," then this might be true. Real Americans can be found to do any job that is offered sufficient pay. Businessmen "need" immigrants to do jobs that cannot be moved outside of the country. Net result is a two-way loss of American jobs. Loss of jobs means lowering the standard of living of the nation. Lower standard of living means more welfare is "needed". Taxes go up on workers and businesses. This forces more jobs
overseas. This downward spiral can be stopped by ending illegal aliens and allowing the free-market determine wages. This expert (or not) recommends mining the border rather than building a fence. If we must build a fence, put it in a free-fire zone.
Rebates are one more scam put on the public. Prices are advertised at the after-rebate price. In a rebate situation,
you pay the full price for an item, full taxes, and supposedly get part of the money back (but not the tax) after preparing and sending in a rebate form. You pay as full price and taxes at the time of purchase and you are out the money until the rebate arrives. Will the rebates arrive? Good question. Rebates that do come are delayed by months, after which the purchaser cannot remember the details and has lost interest in complaining. I have had two rebates for electronic items from Best Buy never arrive, a loss of sixty dollars. Then there are a bunch of conditions that must be performed to "qualify" for rebate of your money. Receipts must be mailed in -- this means you have no proof the item was even purchased and with the required limitation. Often the UPC code from the product must be cut from the product that in some case requires the product be put into another storage container. Items must be sent in immediately. Purchases must be made within a time window -- I noticed the valid period had already expired on a newly rebated item. Not much chance of getting your money back on that item. In amusement I called this to the attention of the Menards salesclerk who assured me the rebate period had been extended because of the delay. Nobody told the rebate center and the rebate was refused. The purchaser has already paid the money
and three months later, how can the claim of the clerk be challenged? Then there is the item with a list price of 50 cents advertised as "free." Add the restrictions, your time and effort to
prepare a mailing, the envelope, a 39 cent stamp, and the odds of the rebate not being honored, then you are wasting your time. You might even be paying more. I used to buy a gallon of milk each week at Econofoods, but one week a month I could not afford it; the price was raised to make a monthly coupon sale look more attractive. A third to two thirds of all rebate purchases are never applied for. Those that come are given every opportunity to be lost. While bored I opened some of the junk mail in the trash I was burning -- inside one was a rebate check for twenty dollars. Most recently, my lovely wife bought a phone card for my Christmas stocking. Seems the rebate required the card be "validated" before year-end, which I didn't know and hadn't. I no longer buy rebated items. Perhaps Lovely will learn.
There is a syndicated columnist named Walter Williams. He is the most sensible
economist it has been my pleasure to run across. Example: to stop favors by
lobbyists and to special interest groups, there should be one rule. Any Congressional bill must apply to all.
If some are paid not to raise hogs, everyone should be paid not to raise hogs.
This man makes sense week after week. Read him if you can.
I have trouble with streaming video, streaming audio, radio
stations playing full time on the internet, phone companies sending calls
over the internet. This is degrading performance for all of us for the benefit of a few ;
sort'a like truckers taking over public highways while private railroads go bankrupt.
But at least truckers play fuel taxes, whereas the internet hogs are taking up
transmission bandwidth with no contribution whatsoever.
Electronic Tax Filings
Glanced at Iowa Efile page today intended for state income taxes -- http:// www.state.ia.us/tax.
The whole orientation is to paying. There is NO free efiling section ; no effort by the state to provide a service to citizen taxpayers. There is an empty link to:
"Free File Alliance - Links to these companies will be posted
as soon as they are available." Nothing by state nor by others.
Got sick and had to stop reading for awhile on : Credit card, a 2.5% convenience fee is charged. Thus, somebody getting or paying $1000 is
ripped off $25 for something that costs 0.0025 cents to process and
a legitimate cost might be 25 cents.
The Iowa Dept of Public Heath has the idea is to require utilities to continue service to any household with children as a public health requirement. It is argued that the cost of this
new program will be charged to paying customers. The current Iowa program cost $38 million 85,000 households last year.
Do these people not realize that every household with children will stop paying?
Then every household without children will claim age discrimination.
Thus no persons will pay utility bills.
How to separate home utilities from small/home business expenses?
How can utilities stay in business? Answer : state subsidy.
This DofPH idea will put the state into the business of providing free electricity
and gas to all households and home businesses in the state.
Only corporations remain to pay utility bills.
How can these corporations afford to stay in business in the state? Many won't ;
industry will leave the state at the same time that people will move into the state to
avoid paying utility bills.
Will taxes for this giveaway be paid by corporations that moved out of state? I don't think so.
Some corporations with influence can request state subsidy : a new Iowa Utilities Value Fund.
The good thing about Microsoft is that the company is so bad that
when they do something unethical again, one cannot get more angry with them -- they are just being their normal, evil self. "Sue them", you say. They have been sued by the US
government and the governments of most international countries ; they simply stay in court for years, finally say "Okay", sometimes pay a fine, and continue doing wrong.
News and Facts
News is made by reporters who often feel they have to make stories without sufficient facts by inserting their prior beliefs. Examples: Headlines on Dec 8, 1941 : " US fleet sails to Tokyo to punish attackers." Of course, the US battleships lay on the floor of Pearl Harbor. More recently we have been told an effect of the war on terror is to kill off black soldiers ; similarly, blacks were not rescued from hurricane Katrina. When the facts followed weeks later we find that white combat troops exceed black and more whites died from Katrina.
Evaluate this joke headline : "End of the world, somebody will be hit hardest".
Replace somebody with the reporter's favorite bias : poor, women, children, blacks, gays, ....
Or, ".End of the world, somebody is at fault."
Replace somebody with "greedy corporations, pentagon lobbyists, religious zealots, far right, ...
Bill of Rights
On December 15 in 1791 the Bill of Rights was adopted by the United
States. It was the lack of a bill of rights that made the Constitution so
controversial a few years before. Many people feared that the adoption of a
strong central government could lead to tyranny unless certain rights were
guaranteed to the people in writing.
Jefferson wrote. " "Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to
against every government on Earth, general or particular, and what no just
government should refuse, or rest on inferences."
Most of the ten items of the Bill of Rights are well accepted., but some
have been distorted over time. For example, there is no right to go hunting. Rather, the colonists had seen what ordinary citizens with guns could do when they had
to fight a revolution against an oppressive government, and so the Bill of
Rights protected the right to bear arms and raise militias.
The Bill of Rights describes what people have and are assured they can keep. It does not describe what people are to be given by government from taxes taken from others.
By the way, what is the practical definition of government? Is it the benevolent provider of welfare? No, it is : "The dominate coercive force in a locale."
Our Globe : Is it now hot or cold ?
Men could once walk from France to England and from Alaska to
Siberia. The world was much colder then and oceans of water were held as ice.
By those standards, the world is now quite warm. But how warm is the natural earth
temperature and its natural variation? Greenland was green when the Vikings settled it less than
a thousand years ago. Personally, I will appreciate less severe winters.
Troops in Iran.
Half the idiots in the world are calling for removal of US troops.
The other half seem to be calling for more troops on the ground.
Neither seems to recognize how long it takes to train an army, specially one whose duties are half policeman and half infantryman. True, to create private soldiers who take orders only takes a few months, but to qualify non-commissioned officers (sergeants) to lead them may take many years. And a quality Iranian army, including an officer corp (four years of military academy for a junior lieutenant) indoctrinated in democratic
ideals, is the answer for that nation.. Don't rush it.
Gun laws are nothing new. Even the residents of Plymouth Colony passed laws
governing firearms back in the early 1600s. Well, there was one major
difference. Any member of the militia who came to church in Plymouth Colony
without a loaded gun was subject to a 12-pence fine.
Iowa's 2000 feet Law.
Every auto offender should not be allowed to live
within 2,000 feet of any road.
Truth is not in the press.
A reporter from a Mississippi newspaper said helicopters were
bringing in people every 30 seconds and planes departing every 4 minutes
taking refugees out. How much more can be expected? The Navy was ordered
to send helicopter and relief ships. When the levies broke a second round of
ships was sent out. Ships move about 20 knots, figure out the arrival. Nothing is instantaneous. Reporters compress time of troubles, trying to change the real world.
News-speak. 4-days is "almost a week",
These people's lies, rather "spin", against America, gall me.
Massive federal aid arrived Friday, after the storm on Monday. Federal aid typically arrives in following weeks. It is no coincidence that Bush visited that morning that aid arrived in mere days. where is the praise for this effort?
I am inclined to agree it took a couple of days of meetings before the
bureaucracy decided what to do, that is bureaucracy, but the first ships were ordered out same day and arrived as projected by speed and distance We suspect other activity was initiated at the same time and responded at best speed as is true with people and organizations. Emergency management has some work to do on quickness of response if there task is defined as to rescue people same day -- which it has not been to date, They currently have to fill out plans and get signatures from
higher ups and get authorizations from the cities to which they are going, which were incommunicado. We know the mayor fled the city, but where is the governor controlled national guard -- southern states usually have good ones; if they were in Iraq, the press would have made much of it. Natural disasters are first a local issue -- I like it that way -- customized to local needs. A federal disaster team will have to arrive equipped with scuba, ski, climbing, fire, biological and radiation gear to handle earthquake, forest fire, flood, hurricane, and terrorist attack and anything else some committee can think of to blame for not being prepared. Evidently the mayor and government had not read their own disaster plan.
5-days is "after a week",
day 8 is "after waiting two weeks
News is how you want it.
If you want to destroy something in the public eye, just be selective in reporting.
Take cars for example. The image is one of sporty excitement. The fact is of
utility and necessity. To destroy automobiles, we call attention to every traffic fatality,
report the daily total and the running total, interview the family of those killed or
wounded, make feature stories of every example of road rage, convince the public that
because bank robbers getaway in cars, we should do away with them.
Does this sound anything like what the press is doing to the war on terrorism?
Have you ever seen or heard a news piece on a school or bridge built by our troops?
That is what most of them are doing.
Natural disaster and the government is not helping.
Two groups overlook an extraordinary relief effort. Those who
are missing their government support payments and reporters who cannot get their stories at press conferences. When there is work to be done, demanding reporters are in the way "But the public has a right to know", so they are left only with the routine of
putting forward a microphone and asking how the distressed feel about the situation. The reporter's attitude shows, too -- a major loss reported by an inconvenienced newsman is
for that the distressed refugees do not have air conditioning.
First, does language make a culture? I find it hard to believe that a stone toolmaking technique makes a culture, any more than do railroads or computers make a culture. Politics and religion are other candidates, but the worst civil wars are between members of the same culture, so I see language as dominate.
- If language makes a culture.
- If English is in fact the world language.
- What can be done to make the world cultured, civilized and peaceful?
Second, it can be agreed that English is the common language of communication in
government, science, education, travel, entertainment, and more by having superseded
the lingua franc and inherited the language of the British Empire.
Third, many efforts at world language have been made, and I am
involved with what I consider the best chance. I have written much on the advantages and risks. But point two includes the ultimate insult to culture, civilization and peace : . . . civil war. Perhaps mankind cannot leave its animal roots of dominance. But I still feel that a common language would at least avoid war by error.
What was the human cost?
Economic loss : Assume 2.5 years service x 3.2 million men = 8 million man-years alone.
|Served||Battle Deaths||Other Deaths||Wounded|
|Union: 2,213,363||140,414|| 224,087||281,881|
|Confederate: 600K-1.5M||74,524||59,297 + POW deaths- 26K-31K.||unknown|
|Total killed|| 526,322||3.35% of male|
|Wounded: at 77.3 wounded for each 100 deaths. Wounded = 2.58% or Total Casualties 5.93%.|
|USA: 1860 census 31,443,321 in 41 states.|| Males= c 15,721,660||In Uniform = c3.2M , 20.3%|
To get a comparison with today:
At civil war rates of causalities we would find today:
2000 Census = 281,421,906 x 1/2 male x 5.93% = 8,344,162 casualties
(Enough to completely wipe out or maim every person
in the 10 least populous states.)
Essay question : contrast Lincoln and Gorbachev in respect for life.
The Big One, WW2:
Population 1940 132,164,569 x 1/2 = 66,082,284 males.
In uniform = 16,112,566 is 24.4%
Killed = 291,557 battle + 113,842 other = 405,399 dead.
Wounded = 670,846. Total Casualties = 1,076,245
Killed 0.172%. Wounded 1.02%. Total Causalities= 1.2%
WW2 had 5 times more men in uniform,
but casualties in Civil War were 5 times worse.
The Real Lincoln
The South succeeded and offered to buy former federal installations including
Fort Sumter. This was used as a tax collection facility, not a military fort. Lincoln rearmed it as a blockade point and marched troops through the city provoking the southern people. Lincoln needed white worker's votes that opposed slave labor in new territories. He felt he could crush state opposition to a central government. He performed illegal suspension of rights ; Congress did not meet for 3 months ; He shut down opposition press. Deported(?) some of the opposition. Acted totally as dictator; tried to arrest the Chief Justice . His war was unpopular. The issue was states rights vs. federal government. The existing anti-slavery issue was brought to the front when an emotional reason was needed to justify a war and the loses. This backfired with drafts riot in North -- "We are not going to war for blacks (spelled with an "n"). The first young men volunteered for the excitement of leaving the farms and neighborhoods; later, men volunteered to avenge deaths of their neighbors; and, finally, by draft.
The Civil War created a united country by smashing one part and making another dominate.
Is outsourcing national defense a risk?. If more munitions can be purchased for fewer dollars, then outsourcing can be an enhancement. But, what
happens if the source is opposed to our national interests. Britain buys munitions from
Belgium. That government opposed Britain's entry into the Iraq war and refused to
ship new munitions? Can alliances change?. Look at how many sides the French were on
in WW2 -- our Allies, ala Lafayette, not only would have withheld munitions, they actually attacked US troops
in North Africa, attacked British forces in East Africa, the Anglo-Americans had to
destroy the French fleet which had refused to join the Allies. Think Airbus, a French
government aircraft builder that supplies the US military.
Army boots are made in Red China, Army side arms are made in Italy;
I don't have a list
Roman became so rich and soft they outsourced their defense to
barbarians -- guess what ? The barbarians soon sacked Roman and the Empire had to
relocate to Constantinople. Maybe the US government can relocate to Tasmania.
The western world is trying to make itself safe from terrorism.
In its efforts to be safe, it is losing the freedom of its people. Carry this to a logical
example: many people drown each year. Someday we are going to be decide we have to fence swimming pools.
Then reservoirs and lakes. Of course, boating will have to be banned. Fencing rivers
is necessary to save more lives. Million, billions of dollars will be required to make the world safe from water, but saving one life is worth the expense. Of course, swimming, fishing, boating will be things of nostalgia.
The penny is no longer needed.
The penny has been the lowest coin for ages. In revolutionary times,
the penny was worth about ???. does this imply that the ?half-dollar? should be the lowest coin? I first logged this idea in the 1960s. I am now ready to do away with the nickel, but hesitate to go public with the idea ; I just never carry either. When this idea
is broached, a frequent response is that prices will increase for $6.99 to $7. That is not the way of the retail world, prices will be reset to $6.95. Another argument is that pennies are necessary for sales tax. After War Two, when sales taxes were first introduced, plastic "coins" were issued by several states, denominated in mills. They were color coded for 1 mil, 2 mil, 5 mil, 10 mil (a penny). This may show that taxes are considered important, but it also shows that the world can do without such small denomination money.
English for Dollars
I had this idea before JFK introduced the Peace Corps, so it has been
around for awhile. For every million dollars of foreign aid, there shall be one new classroom teaching English in the receiving country. This will lead to an affinity to
western ideas, allow exposure to western media, entertainment, sports. Will prove useful in introducing the receiving country to International commerce. The cost will be partially offset by creating a market for
western ideas. We now filter foreign aid through the International bank, so the appearance is for less foreign aid that in the old days, so the simple English-for-dollars ideas will have to be adjusted.
Daylight Saving Time.
The concept of daylight saving time being a temporary adjustment
to the clock has been a joke for some time. Daylight Time exceeds the amount of time
we call Standard. Now our Congress has decided to impose an even longer Daylight time period. It would have been smarter to change the time zones.
Terror is winning -- with our help.
I used to travel a lot. I could leave my desk, drive 40 miles to the airport, park, walk to the gate and get on the airplane. Now one has to be at the airport two hours in advance and strip to your socks. Consider the human cost of an extra four hours round trip and the business cost of that lost productivity. Terror is winning because of our help.
The climate expert at the state university says that global temperatures are controlled
95% by solar cycles and 5% by local conditions. He tried to not embarrass the global-warming-is-a- sin-of-man contingent by noting that 5% in banking is a lot. Consider cycles -- Greenland was
once green, about a thousand years ago when the world was a lot warmer than it is now. Sure
there are changes -- glaciers melting, etc -- it is natural. Species that will die out will
be replaced new ones. That is life on earth.
I listened to a fundamentalist preacher the other day. I would normally have turned to another station, preferring a more inspirational style, but the music had been good and my lap was full, so I had not gotten up to turn the station and eventually became fascinated by his approach to his subject.
What he said could be interpreted in two distinct ways.
A person of mainline religion could hear him inspire the faithful to resist temptation no matter what the social pressures and follow the teaching of God. However, this extremely fundamentalist preacher was making the presentation and his wording was more strident than that. What he said was that God speaks directly to the inner-self and His word must be followed no matter what the social norms of society; our actions did not depend upon the misguided behavior of others.
He went on like this for most of his half hour until I felt like I were being harangued by an Ayatollah to take up Jihad against the forces of evil and to bring God's religion to the unbelievers.
If our society were so inclined and had been accustomed to listen to this type of sermon from birth, with the approval of our social molders of family and religious leaders, we all would have been inspired to take personal responsibility to go right out and smite all those different from us.
One begins to understand the actions of people in a more primitive society. Perhaps one can begin to see what is required to make a more humane society and that
it may take generations to lift all people to be at peace with each other.
That is possible, isn't it?