Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spending Problem - Not Revenue Problem

I spend most of my life working for government. Some government agencies need to be paid well to provide services that can be had nowhere else. For example, having seen them in action, if I'm in an automobile accident, I want Fire Paramedics working on me - not the barely trained people who drive the ambulance. If I call 911, I want professional, well trained, motivated police officers to come to my aid. Professionals cost money.

However, when you look at the numbers of people who work in the social services game within county and local government (one example) - and you see what they're paid to hand out welfare money to the parasitic dregs of society, it chills the blood. (apologies to Darlin' who is in school.) Remember 1/3 of all people receiving welfare benefits in the USA live in California. Eliminating all long term welfare benefits and the workers that go with them would balance the state budget.

The prison guards in California have a powerful union. And they make nearly $100,000.00 per year! There is an imbalance here. But nobody in the legislature wants to take on their union or the teacher's union.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sarah Palin - Courageous

A couple of days ago, I had a conversation with a lady I had never met before, nor am I likely to meet her again. I often strike up conversations with total strangers, which my children think is "strange". To make an even longer story short the lady I spoke to lived in Northern California and the topic of the wrong direction America has taken since the election of barack hussein obama to the presidency came up. The grass roots opposition to that presidency and certain members of Congress (Pelosi (D-CA) and Reid (D-NV) also surfaced in this discussion.

The lady I spoke to said, "You know, members of my class of people would think I'm crazy for saying it, but one of the people I admire most in the Patriotic Resistance is Sarah Palin." (the lady's class of people, as she called it relates to her sexual orientation as a lesbian) 

I replied, "What's not to like about Sarah Palin?"

She said, "Sarah Palin represents the things that are right about America. She's a strong woman with a strong moral center who believes in family, in a Constitutional America, in opposing injustice and in promoting the things that make the country strong."

The mainstream media (so-called state-run media) hates former Governor Palin with a passion and it's reflective in the way they treated her during the presidential election where she ran as John McCain's vice presidential running mate. Contrast the bashing that Palin received and contrast it with the kid gloves that poor old senile Joe (Slow Joe) Biden was handled with as barack hussein obama's vice presidential choice.

The lady I spoke to and I closed our brief conversation this way.  She said, "I think that Sarah Palin is the most COURAGEOUS woman in the spotlight in America today."

I couldn't agree more. I personally think that she needs more experience before running for the US presidency (maybe 2016?). But Sarah Palin doesn't lack for courage or moral fiber and she is a spokesperson for a better America - an America without barack hussein obama or his stooges leading the country.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Political Violence

After having smashed the Constitution, some Democrats are concerned for their safety.

Washington (CNN) -- Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday's vote on a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health care system.

More than 10 Democrats have reported trouble since the weekend vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters. Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents were investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman's brother was related to the lawmaker's yes vote.

I don't believe in political violence because when that happens, or when a politician is killed, they become martyrs - their carcass becomes a standard for people to rally around. The British had the ability to kill Hitler in the later days of the World War 2 and decided NOT to exercise that option. I agree with that based on my review of history.

However, the Democrats in Congress should read history and if they did, they'd know that in the past, from Lincoln to McKinley to the Kennedys, there hasn't been a threat before they dropped. It's the ones that don't threaten that you need to worry about. And there are Americans with long memories. Shred the Constitution and sleep uneasy...


By way of review, is it any wonder that the American people are shocked at the blatant lies told them by barack hussein obama?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Are matters Worse in Mexico?

Friends who know I work in Mexico from time to time, regularly ask me whether or not it's safe to travel through or vacation in Mexico. The unbridled violence in Mexico is clearly escalating.  Take this recent example:
A total of five gunmen and one soldier from the Mexican military were killed March 18 in a firefight along Highway 40 from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon to Reynosa, Tamaulipas state. These media reports were also accompanied by other reports that several highways in the region were blocked by seemingly random vehicles. It was later revealed that these roadblocks were coordinated by members of Los Zetas to prevent Mexican military units from responding to these firefights in a timely manner.
The following day saw a total of 31 street intersections and sections of highway in and around the Monterrey metro area blocked by some 42 abandoned vehicles. Cartel members had carjacked these vehicles, which included everything from sedans to tractor-trailers to city buses, drove them into blocking positions and immobilized them by slashing or shooting out the tires or even setting them on fire. The blockades began to appear around 3:00 a.m. and were finally cleared by 7:00 a.m. before the morning rush hour. While there were no media reports of corresponding confrontations between cartel gunmen and Mexican security forces, sensitive cartel operations likely were carried out at this time. (h/t Stratfor)

If you're stuck in cartel-generated traffic jams along the highways, you are completely immobilized, making you and everyone/anyone else easy targets for robberies or carjackings. It's not necessarily the cartel members who will rob you, but other criminal elements acting out crimes of opportunity.

It's not just the typical nightly murders in Juarez or the shooting gallery that Culiacan has become. It bleeds over. And keeping your head on a swivel and your eyes wide open may no longer be enough.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nearly a Ghost Town

Yesterday I spent some time driving around the industrial area in the town in Southern California where I live. There are about 150,000 people in the city and it abuts other cities on three sides and the national forrest on the fourth.  The area I'm blogging about is past the In-N-Out Burger, past the closed car dealerships (real estate also for sale).

A company I work with from time to time may be in the market to purchase commercial real estate in the near future and am looking for about 10,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space on their behalf. I simply drove through the industrial area and was SHOCKED to find that at least 25-30% of the industrial space is empty and FOR SALE. Not for lease, FOR SALE. This in what once was a thriving Southern California community. I came away with the feeling that if I walked into nearly any business there, open or closed, with a rock bottom price, that they'd sell me the real estate.

While it may be the opportunity of a lifetime for a buyer, it is a stark indicator of how bad things have become here. You almost NEVER see commercial real estate like that for sale. There is always a sign here and there for a leasing opportunity but that's not what I'm blogging about.

My sense is that things will get worse before they get better. For every business that completely folds, there are jobs lost that aren't coming back anytime soon. With the US Congress threatening national healthcare that will be born on the backs of businesses and the California Legislature poised to raise taxes significantly, there really is scant cause for factories to exist HERE. California is not a business friendly state, the taxes are high and because fully 1/3 of the people on welfare in America live here, they have to be high to support the lay-abouts.

Monday, March 15, 2010

US Census and Race

The U. S. Census Bureau had plans of sending large questionnaires out to the public which FAR exceeded the Constitutional mandate to count the public. There was a large public outcry and I am happy to report that the form that they ended up sending out simply "counted" the number of people in each household. I have no problem complying with the law of the land and this ten-year process is now complete as far as I am concerned.

In addition to counting each person, there were detailed questions of race. I'm not sure how a person decides what race he or she is. For example, Barack Hussein Obama, born to a white mother and a black father would never call himself "white".  And there was no box to check that would indicate a racial blending.

Barack "Barry" Hussein Obama with grandparents.

So I don't know how the US Government will resolve such seemingly politically incorrect issues.

Frankly, I don't care - but somebody does, because racial identification constituted three questions on the form for each household member.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New US Trade Rules - Unintended Consequences?

Those who read this blog will understand that I personally feel that Barack Hussein Obama would mismanage using a roll of toilet paper - let alone manage the United States from the White House. (h/t Stratfor) for portions of this commentary.

Barack Hussein Obama announced details of his new national export initiative yesterday. By pursuing his goal it is likely that the US will reverse one of the primary conditions contributing to global stability since the end of the Second World War.

Is a coincidence that when the dominant global power did not use state power to seek foreign markets, the degree of competition and ultimately violence among players on the international stage was markedly lower than in previous periods? If not a coincidence, then the full weight of the American nation behind a strategy of maximizing exports could have massive unintended consequences.

The world was a fairly mercantile place before World War II. Empires established colonies not merely to get access to raw materials, but to gain captive markets. When commercial interests clashed, skirmishes were common, and often erupted into full-blown war. Imperial Japan is a good example. The U.S. attempt to block Japan from appropriating the Dutch East Indies oil production and domineering over China was the proximate cause for Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course economic interactions can still ignite conflict, but they have not done so on a global scale since WWII. Why?

“In the past, most U.S. companies focused almost solely on the robust domestic market for their goods.”

One of the leading reasons the world has been so stable is because the traditional merchant powers have had a deep market to sell into: the United States. Part of the peace accords and reconstruction of Japan included granting it full access to the U.S. market as well as full American protection of Japanese trade lines. Part of the peace accords and reconstruction of Germany included a similar arrangement. These arrangements proved so successful in containing Japanese and German imperial ambitions, revitalizing and enriching their economies, and giving them a powerful incentive to be part of the U.S. alliance structure that the pattern was repeated throughout Western Europe, in Taiwan and Korea, and to a lesser degree in Indonesia and elsewhere.

By granting these states privileged access to the American market — and not necessarily demanding American access to their markets in return — the United States created conditions extremely favorable for its allies’ economic development and prosperity. “All” it asked for in return was the right to determine military strategy, ultimately creating a global alliance network that served American interests. The United States traded some market share to turn adversaries into allies, both reducing the number of foes and intimidating the remainder by the sheer size of the U.S. alliance structure. As a result, some of the world’s most aggressive mercantile powers became placid. They no longer had to go to war for access to resources or markets.

This entire arrangement, however, rested on the basis that the United States generally did not use the full force of its state power in pursuit of its singular economic ends. The United States was content to buy others’ goods and run trade deficits to command the loyalty of its allies in security matters. The question with the Obama administration’s export strategy is whether it marks a change from this mode. To increase exports, one has to increase penetration into foreign economies, and a number of countries’ economies and social systems only work the way they do because they have taken shape with minimal outside pressure — i.e., minimal competition from the United States. This is not to say that many countries do not already perceive the U.S. presence as overbearing, but rather that the United States simply has not spent much energy in competing for foreign market share over the past half century. If it suddenly exerts itself in opening up the doors of trade around the world — and doubling U.S. exports would mean finding buyers for an additional $1.5 trillion dollars worth of goods — it will disrupt a lot of places.

And Barack Hussein Obama doesn't care.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Little Things

Sometimes a little thing can ruin your whole day.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Movie Business

My youngest daughter, Emilie (pictured below), is at the Academy Awards program in Los Angeles as I write this. She is the personal assistant to a Hollywood Celebrity who is a member of the Academy and as such she attended.

The celebrity lives down the street from us, so as a careful father, that criteria makes me a little more comfortable with the situation.

Emilie wore this dress (she'd be offended if I called it an 'outfit'). At the moment she's at Elton John's private after party. I spoke to her on the telephone a few minutes ago and Emilie said she's having a great time hob-nobbing with the great and near great (and those who think they're great).

My choice for best picture: HURT LOCKER, won. Beyond that, I didn't care much and I didn't see the Academy Award show since I was out working.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Finally - Good News from the US Congress!

I've been telling you all that happy days are here again!

Yes the argument could be made that the Senate Majority Leader is simply giddy with the good news.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can You Identify This?

Can any of you gun officianados correctly identify this weapon?

HINT: It's NOT an AK-47.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making Life Work

This painting worked for Pablo Picasso. It doesn't do much for me.

The same can be said for so many things. Just because it floats your boat, it may not float mine. Life is like that. Frustration comes when people work hard to force you into a place where you don't belong and where you can't find equilibrium. Like suggesting that I hang the Picasso in my den so I have to look at it when I'm working.

Many people have ideas about "how life is supposed to be" and they never quite work out. Here is my view of things based on experience.

(1) I've done things that many people think are cool, and most of them aren't what they're cracked up to be.

(2) Many of the best experiences I've had in life just happened. They weren't planned.

(3) Based on my present track record, about 90% of the business projects I work on fail. I consider a 10% success rate to be rather good and try to maintain that level. I agree with Linus Pauling that the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. One is bound to be good.

(4) Live in the present.  Living in the past breeds regret, living in the future inevitably leads to insecurity, worry and false expectations. In the words of a famous mantra: "The only easy day was yesterday!" If you live in the present, you simply enjoy life a lot more.

(5) There are two theories to understanding women. Both are wrong.

(6) Being a grandparent is better than being a parent.

(7) Being rich is better than being poor. There's not much nobility in either poverty or ignorance.

(8) I'm trying to perfect my humility, but somehow that eludes me. Otherwise, I'm practically perfect.

Most lists have ten items. I have stopped at 8 because I'm sure I'll find two more things to add before I cash in my chips/push up daisies/croak/shuffle off this mortal coil.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Captain Blood

I know that most of you will think I'm nuts for loving old movies like Captain Blood (1935), starring Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland.

But I just do.



My daughter Heather (25), a blogger, amateur photographer and now baccalaureate landed a new executive position. As you all will recognize, this calls for a party! The party goers decided that they want to go to Fleming's Steak House
As father of the brood, it falls me to pay the bill, which I am proud to do.  I asked Heather what's the first thing she'll buy with her new found salary.

She thinks that a new BMW would be the way to go...
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