Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trees of Life

Today (Saturday) the first 16 of 416 Oak trees will make their way to their home at Ground Zero in New York City. It is the first step, finally, to turn what is essentially a mass grave into something living once again. The 416 trees will be part of the 9/11 memorial, surrounding the huge waterfall features containing the victims names. The memorial will be next to the (eventual) new buildings that are planned at the site of the September 11, 2001 attack on America. The trees will be in place in time for the annual memorial service held in a few days from now.

The trees will make their way from a New Jersey nursery to lower Manhattan on flatbed trucks and will be planted this weekend. The 416 trees are meant to symbolize rebirth. The trees were harvested from the three states where the attacks occurred: New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and have been growing at the nursery since 2007. They are now 30 feet tall.

Tonight, there will once again be life at Ground Zero.

Click to enlarge the below artist conception drawings of what the finished memorial will supposedly look like. The two mammoth pools will occupy the footprints of the original twin towers of the destroyed World Trade Center.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Clod part II

I see in my local papers (Bunny and Clod were captured not far from where I live, so the story is still being followed here) that Clod has explained to the police that only one bullet was required to kill the man, one to the head, but that three were required to kill the wife. He also complained about the huge quantity of blood they produced and how that was why they had to finally burn the camper trailer with the bodies still in it. They did let the dogs out and leave food for them before they left.

My thoughts now - and Soubriquet will be thinking along the same lines, I'm sure - is how the trial will unfold once the lawyers get their hands on it. According to Souby's and my old-fashioned thinking, these dolts should now simply be taken out back and shot once behind each ear, Chinese style. There were murders and the murderers have confessed and described how it happened. What more do we need?

What more indeed. Years of trials and money, that's what.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Insurance is Socialism

Maybe you haven't thought of it quite like that before.

The way insurance works - whether it is casualty insurance or life insurance - is that a group of people, a qualified "pool," put up a poker ante at the beginning of a "hand" (specified period) and only the "winners" get to divide up the money during that particular risk episode. In this case, the "winners" are the ones who have had injuries or losses during the game. The only other entity who gets to take money out of the pot are the insurance companies themselves, in return for running the scam in the first place.

I used to be in the insurance game for several years quite some time ago. Many of my customers were American Indians, and more than a few didn't grasp the concept of insurance, or pretended not to. Most got liability insurance on their vehicles because the state said they had to in order to drive on the state's roads, and got vehicle damage insurance only because the bank they borrowed the money from said they had to do that. Left to their own desires, many simply drove without insurance. I have had a few come in and ask for a refund at the end of the year because they didn't "use" the insurance. That was an interesting concept to explain to them. I used to tell them it was like hiring a bodyguard; just because you didn't get beat up didn't mean you didn't have to pay him.

Most people do understand how insurance works, don't like it at all, but participate anyway because they are afraid of being beat up financially. If you look at it cynically, though, insurance is pure socialism. Assets are pooled and the money is doled out to those who need it. And the ones who are careful and keep their nose clean (the rich) get their money taken away from them and given to the less successful.

Here I am not judging; it is simply a fact of life.

I think the point to be understood with insurance is that it doesn't matter if a private insurance company is running the game or if it is a government who is running the racket, there is still a huge ante to be paid in order to compensate the "winners." If it is a private insurance company, they will take part of the pot for their trouble, and if it is a government, they will take a good part of the pot for "administration" bureaucracy, simply through their inefficiency.

One way or the other, YOU are not going to be a winner.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Socialism seems to work better in small groups

Do you have a favorite recipe? Have you ever tried to make it in large quantities for a large party - to double or triple the recipe simply by multiplying the ingredients by two or three? What if you had to serve 1000 people?

I don't know why it is, but simply doubling or tripling the recipe ingredients doesn't always work out. I suppose the reason is, if there is a small error in measurement, or a "rounding" of amounts in the original recipe, the error is compounded more and more as the quantity grows. Probably large feeding institutions such as cafeterias or hospitals or even restaurants have to have their own special recipes which have had the ingredient amounts adjusted for those quantities. I also suppose it works the other way; large recipes don't always reduce properly if you only want to make the dish for only 4 people.

Socialism is a lot like that. Socialism works in relatively small groups. The Amish are an example. In relatively small groups, such as communes, one can control not only the division of labor, but one can insure each person works or they get kicked out.

Unfortunately, this concept does not seem to work that well when you try it with millions of people. Oddly, not all people want to work at the job they are assigned. Some don't want to work at all. All still want to eat.

If I have condemned Socialism on this blog, it is only because I believe history shows us that it isn't workable on a large scale. Too many people have to be forced to do this or that, and the society gets too oppressive. Or else, work isn't enforced at a level to meet needs and desires, and Greece happens.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rights and needs

Need: "To require something because it is essential."

Want: "A desire to possess some thing or condition."

Right: "A legal entitlement to have something, or to act in a certain way."

Obligation: "Duty; commitment."

Responsibility: "The state of being accountable."

Privilege: "A special right, immunity, advantage; not given to all people or all classes."

Some possible rights:

The right to have food to survive;
The right to have shelter;
The right to be free from fear of attack or death;
The right to own property;
The right to clean drinking water;
The right to receive a living wage for one's labor;
The right to keep the fruit of one's labors and not have it taken away and given to others;
The right to a certain standard of housing;
The right to a free education;
The right to be a drug addict (for example, to be an alcoholic);
The right not to work if one is so inclined;
The right to work at the job of one's choosing;
The right to have one's native language spoken at school and printed on forms;
The right to equal or preferred access if one is handicapped;
The right of free travel without regard to political borders;
The right to live where one wants to live;
The right not to be bound by laws one doesn't agree with;
The right not to be killed if one does murder;
The right to free medical care;
The right to have adequate transportation;
The right to breathe clean air;
The right to be properly and adequately clothed;
The right not to serve in any army;
The right to receive a pension when one is old; to be secure in one's old age

Who can think of more rights all people should have? There must be many more. Are all of these true rights? Are some simply desired conditions rather than true rights? Who decides?

I believe many of these things are actual human rights. The trouble, as always, is in the securing of them and the guarantee of them. I also believe several of these things are not rights at all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Bunny and Clod" behind bars finally, after 3-week crime wave

You may have heard about the saga of a middle-aged Arizona prison escapee of three weeks ago and his female accomplice who threw wire cutters over the prison fence so he could cut a hole and leave with two buddies. Said buddies were captured earlier, but the middle-aged lothario, who had many more tatoos than brains, has been on the lam with his honey in various states for the last three weeks, providing considerable news fodder on the evening news. Unfortunately, the two killed an elderly couple in New Mexico and the chase got serious right away.

Today (8-19-10) a park ranger noticed a couple of guests at a campsite looked suspicious and called for backup. Sure enough it was renegade Joe Toothless and his squeeze. "Backup" turned out to be a S.W.A.T. team and the camp was soon surrounded by U.S. Marshals. King Dork refuses to go down so they take him down and his distraught mate Daisy Mae Dipshit pulls out a handgun on the cops, then takes a better look at the many assault rifles pointed at her, realizes she may be in the process of making a bad bargain, and drops her pistol.

As an officer stoops to pick up the handgun, one of the other cops warns him to be careful how he handles it because it might be the murder weapon.

Sleazy Sally pipes up, "Oh, no. The murder weapon is still in the tent."


How do these people manage to survive from day to day with only a meager teaspoonful of brains? Incidentally, not that it matters, because they are both idiots in their own right, the lovely lovers are also first cousins.

Bonnie Bumpkus was all courteous with the lady judge. Only yes ma'am and no ma'am escaped her loony lips. A million dollars bail was set despite her politeness.

The tatooed chomper-challenged Elmer Gump fared no better in the bail department.

Unfortunately the victims were killed in New Mexico, so no death penalty to worry about.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 down now, but three allowed to live and be fed by Texas taxpayers

Are you ready? Hey, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip to the sound of the beat, yeah
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone
And another one gone
Another one bites the dust.

[The folowing is a copyright news story]

Huntsville, Texas (CBS/KHOU) Murderer Peter Anthony Cantu was executed by the state of Texas Tuesday evening.

He was the ringleader in a crime that struck a raw nerve for its sheer brutality: the repeated gang rape, torture and murder of 14-year-old Jennifer Ertman and 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena in 1993.

The lethal injection was performed at 6:09 p.m. By 6:17 p.m. Cantu was pronounced dead. He was 35 and had lived on death row longer than his victims were alive.

No one came to witness on Cantu's behalf when he received his lethal injection.

The girls' families came to witness the execution and were met by supporters and applause when they walked out of the Walls Unit.

Before this case, relatives were specifically prohibited from watching. Today it is a common occurrence.

"Why do I watch? For justice. For justice for my little girl," Elizabeth's father, Adolph Pena, said. [This is the third of her killers he has watched die.]

Houston was stunned when Cantu and his gang were arrested. Instead of remorse there was violence from Cantu. Cameras caught Cantu cuffed and escorted by two officers still trying to kick news photographers.

When he finally faced death, Cantu made no apology and had no statement.

Elizabeth's father said he was not surprised.

"Nothing he would say to me would make any difference," he said.

In June of 1993, the two girls stumbled across a gang initiation on White Oak Bayou. Six teenagers repeatedly raped, assaulted, then beat the girls to death, beyond recognition.

"Hopefully they'll find some peace. What would I tell them? We love them and miss them," Adolph Pena said.

During the trial, the Ertmans asked to address the court. An angry Randy Ertman stood at the trial and told the killers: "We live for the day you die. I hope you rot in hell."

But after the execution Tuesday things were different. The Ertmans left without saying a word. Randy Ertmans' fiery red hair is gray, and now Cantu is dead.

Three of the Pena and Ertman killers have been executed. Three others have long prison terms. Two of them will come up for parole in 2028. The Ertmans and Penas are videotaping their protest for the parole board, in case they are not here in 18 years to protest in person.

For the families, it is a fight they will take beyond the grave.


Rot in hell, Peter Anthony Cantu. Your initiation is tonight.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More phony polls

[Rasmussen Reports (Polling company) Aug. 11, 2010.]

The very best poll is on an election day, and on election day, 2008, Barrack Obama had a whopping 53% following. That's huge.

Tracking for today (Wednesday) shows 24% of the nation's voters strongly approve of the way Barack Obama is performing as president. Obama currently has a 46% approval rating, not that bad, I suppose, meaning that 46% of the electorate at least "somewhat" approves of the president's performance.

At this same time, 19 months into his presidency, George Bush had an approval rating of just over 60%, (down from a high of 92% after the attack on New York) It took Bush longer to drop below 50% approval rating than it has Obama to underachieve this, but Bush continued to drop throughout the remainder of his presidency. Obama still has lots of time left to recover, probably.

In the "Well, DUH!" department: 70% of registered voter poll respondents say they believe congress takes payments in return for their votes. In fact, 56% say they believe THEIR congressman is on the take.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

8% of Americans don't believe in God

[Opinions Dynamics Corp. Poll, 2004]

Fully 92% of Americans believe in God.

85% believe in heaven.

82% believe in miracles.

Belief in God has remained about the same, but belief in the devil is gaining ground: 71% today compared to only 63% in 1997.

34% of Americans believe in ghosts, and 34% (the same people?) believe in UFOs.

29% believe in astrology.

25% believe in reincarnation.

24% believe in witches.

American women are more likely to believe in these things than men (including 12% more that believe in miracles and 8% more that believe in heaven.)

Men are much more likely to believe in UFOs.

86% of adults believe in hell, but that drops down to 68% after age 70. Go figure.

Democrats are less likely to believe in God, (by 8 percentage points) heaven (by 10 percentage points). or hell (15 percentage points.) But Democrats are more likely to believe in astrology, reincarnation, ghosts, and UFOs.

According to a 2008 Gallup poll, 93% of Americans believe in God (or in “some” higher power.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What happens when there is no more opportunity in the land of opportunity?

For much of its history, the U.S. did not have much of an immigration policy. None at first, a bit lax after that, to say the least. And why not? - there was more land than anyone then could even dream of ever overcrowding.

The people that were already here when the Europeans showed up certainly began to get pushed around before too long, and I don't want to make that sound unimportant; but the issue wasn't not having enough land for both the Indians and the Europeans, but rather who got what. As usual, the strong took what they wanted and the weak moved to other land.

Along with those white Europeans, of course, came people that didn't want to come; people who, even now, are still trying to make this a place that feels like home to them.

The real immigrations to America began in the 19th century. The railroads need for cheap labor brought Asians and Irish. Troubles in Ireland brought more Irish. Then came Italians and Germans and Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans, not to mention a steady trickle of English and Scots. By the turn of the 20th century, some people (who were already here, of course) got to thinking that maybe someone ought to stem the tide a bit.

Ellis Island finally was closed in 1954 and by then the population of the USA was over 150,000,000. Suddenly the vast amount of land didn't seem so inexhaustible anymore.

Today, the population is a bit more than twice that many, and God still isn't making any more land. What to do?

Proponents of open borders will quickly point out that early white settlers didn't have to worry about quotas and application forms. I agree. Life is unfair. First come, first served, so to speak. The reality is, the world and the USA simply aren't like they were back in the old days. The USA - and the world, for that matter - are getting filled up. If the people who are supposedly in power don't find a way to control the situation any better than the Indians did at first, then they will go down the same path as the Indians and lose the power.

There is a bigger problem, though. America's "secret" of how it rose to be a great world power is no secret at all: the driving force for making America great was its hungry immigrants looking for a better life, and willing to do whatever it took to advance from one generation to the next. What now? Immigration and diversity has always been the lifeblood of America's continual renewal. The people who advocate open borders have a point.

And yet...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Immigration stupidity not confined to Democrats

(Washington Post, Aug. 7, 2010) Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., says America faces a growing foreign threat: illegal immigrants and tourists who come here for the express purpose of giving birth so their children get citizenship.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and a few other top Republicans have jumped on the issue and called for hearings.

The senators said their concerns arose from recent reports of a burgeoning "birth tourism" industry, which helps expectant mothers travel to the United States to deliver their babies. They [the senators] also said that birthright citizenship, which is granted by the 14th amendment of the Constitution, provides an incentive for people to enter the country illegally.


This blogger believes in controlled immigration. He believes any country has a right to control its borders and the integrity of its interior. But, JesusJosephandMary! A baby has a right to be a citizen of the country he is born in! It isn't the baby's fault what his parents do, and babies shouldn't be used as some sort of anti-illegal immigration pawn.

Control the borders. Make immigrants immigrate the way you want them to. But... god this makes me mad... if there is really such a thing as an "unalienable right" it is the right to be a citizen of the land upon which one is born.

Just stop it Graham. Just stop it McCain. If you want to "hold hearings," then hold hearings on how to compel the president to do his job. Or hold hearings on how to limit terms of geezer senators. Leave the innocent babies alone.

Some people (in California, at least) have expressed outrage that (indigent) Mexican mothers (who have successfully made it through Obama's porous borders) are allowed to give birth in U.S. hospitals, without having to show proof of citizenship, and having the birth paid for by the U.S. taxpayer under Medicaid. I say that ANY mother who shows up ready to give birth, at any hospital in the USA, should not have to speak English or should not have to show proof of citizenship. Why? Because it is already too late to talk about illegal immigration at that point; her child is obviously already an American citizen and has the right to be properly attended to. That's why. Get over it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's about drugs, stupid!

What are the options of a country that is being invaded by drug cartels who have the latest military weapons and military vehicles? What if they are targeting your Border Patrol and the state police, and killing them? What if their own country can't or won't control them? What if they control border towns of their own country, and even large cities?

Another Arizona deputy sheriff was killed in Pinal county recently. It never seems to stop.

Well, ONE solution would be for the president of the besieged country to send military troops to guard the integrity of it's border and protect its citizens and its sovereignty.

Our previous president, Bush, and several before him did nothing but hide their heads in the sand.

Our current President, one Barack Obama, has decided the best way to combat the invasion of the drug cartels is to put up signs in the desert such as the one shown above, warning American citizens not to travel in their own country.

Well, that's more than Bush or Reagan did, at least.

Actually, Mr. Obama has a two-pronged defense strategy. In addition to putting up warning signs in the desert, he also has a program of suing individual states who, in desperation, try to protect themselves.

The drug cartels and the American progressives are beaming with pride.

So you think it is all about the persecution of some poor "illegal immigrants" who are just looking for a better life? It may interest you to know that the charge for being smuggled into the country across our southern border is no longer paid in money, but in agreeing to carry drugs.

Not that you care.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Personal Advancement


I was just over at Lidian's "KitchenRetro" blog, reading her current post, and her retro ads reminded me of a telemarketing call I received several years ago about changing career fields.

The name of the company in question was something like "Foley-Belsaw" and they had ads on all the back pages of comic books and inserts in all the Sunday Parade magazines. Anyway.

At the time I was the Branch Manager for a Texas Savings & Loan, the tiny "branch" being located in far-away Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our purpose for existing was to originate mortgage loans, which the home office would then fund. This meant I spent half of my workday sucking up to real estate agents and getting them drunk enough to steer their buyers to my company when it came time for them to apply for their home loan, regardless of my interest rate. The rest of my day was spent fighting with FHA and VA bureaucrats, trying to convince them that my buyers were not really deadbeats, and the U.S. government should by all means insure or guarantee every loan package I placed in their in-baskets.

I was moderately successful. I may have even been responsible for the current economic crisis. Who knows. This was... ummmm... more than 10 years ago. I was a very young go-getter. Much too young and go-getting for such a responsible position which came with a new company car and a credit card, in addition to the keys to the office. But I was the only one who knew the ins and outs of government home loan programs (that's a different story) who lived in Albuquerque who was willing to work for a really paltry salary as long as I had a free shiny car to drive around. Plus the S&L president had no desire to leave Texas more than once, so he hired me immediately and I drove him to the airport and never saw him again.

The actual loan processing (verifications-collecting and government form typing) was done by my wonderfully inept secretary, Janice (not her real name)*, a young immigrant from England I had hired for an even paltrier salary because I owed her husband money. Janice was an incompetent typist who put all those extra "U"s in her words, who claimed to be a high school graduate from some unpronounceable inner-city London high school (not really unpronounceable, I just couldn't understand Janice), but was a friendly receptionist. Unfortunately it took her an hour to take a loan application because neither the husband or wife sitting in front of her desk could comprehend her accent. I don't know if it was cockney or what. It damn sure wasn't Oxford. Janice was my only employee. Affable, yet unwilling.

Honest to God, this post is really about a telemarketing call I received from Foley-Belsaw. Or whatever their name was.

So, one Saturday morning I am at home kicking back and the phone rings. A nice telemarketing lady from Foley-Belsaw. This was before the days when I automatically screamed obscenities and hung up on telemarketers.

Here I should say that as a teenager working at a movie theatre (that's how the owner spelled it) taking tickets for, like, $13 a week and sex from the popcorn girl down in the storeroom (also a different story), I was desperate enough to mail in a coupon for information about how to make something of my life from Foley-Belsaw. Or whatever their name was.

That is the only way I can think of that they got my name. Not sure how they got my phone number. Perhaps it was only a coincidence.

So the nice lady told me she was calling to help me improve my lot in life, employment-wise, and I'm thinking maybe she is going to help me get promoted to VP at the home office. Turns out her idea of career advancement involved learning how to repair small engines.

"Do you think you might be interested in something like that, sir?"

"Ummm... interested in WHAT?"

"Learning to repair small engines. Like boat motors and lawnmowers."

"No. Why would I?"

Here I could hear the pages in her script being shuffled in the background.

"Perhaps welding?"

"Welding? What about welding?" I still hadn't grasped the purpose of her call. "You're not from the home office, are you?"

"Yes, sir, I am. Foley-Belsaw. Or whatever our name is."

"Ummm... I work for a mortgage loan company. I am their local manager."



"I think your future might lie in repairing large commercial refrigeration units."

"Why would you think that?"

"I just do. Now let me just verify your mailing address... "



"Well, sir, actually I don't HAVE your mailing address. I was wanting for you to give it to me."

"I don't think so. But I really appreciate your interest in me."

"Forestry technician."

Finally I got wise and hung up. But I said "Sorry, no thanks" before I did.

That's what Lidian's post today reminded me of.

*Actually Janice was her real name. Who cares?


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